Newsletter: Today: Meth and Murder in Tijuana

A paramedic and police officer look at the body of a man, estimated to be about 28, found with five gunshot wounds to his back and legs in Tijuana on Dec. 30, 2018.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The bloodshed in Tijuana is higher than ever, but the cause is fundamentally different from years past.


Meth and Murder in Tijuana


Not long ago, Tijuana was celebrating a major drop in violence. Today, it’s one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In 2018, a record 2,518 people were killed, nearly seven times the total in 2012. Across the border in San Diego, there were 34 homicides last year. What’s driving the homicide rate in Tijuana so high? With the help of a local crime photographer, Times reporter Kate Linthicum, photographer Gary Coronado and videographer Jessica Chen set out to explore the killings. What they found is a new kind of drug war. Unlike the past, with cartels fighting over trafficking routes to the U.S., this battle is focused on competition over sales of methamphetamine, or cristal, to those living in Tijuana. Why? Read on.

He’s Got Friends in Faux Places

Remember Jim, who doesn’t go to Paris anymore because of immigrants? Or the former American presidents who told President Trump they wished they had built a border wall — even though each denied that? As negotiations over border security measures begin today in Washington, Trump has some new, apparently imaginary allies: “a lot of the Democrats, almost all of them” who secretly support giving money for Trump’s much desired wall. Though some have signaled they are willing to compromise, none has expressed enthusiasm for the idea.

A Chapel on the Front Line

While the battle over wall funding continues, work on the 25-mile, $1.4-billion border fence project in Texas — already paid for by Congress — has proceeded. But that doesn’t mean the legal fights have ended. In the town of Mission, church leaders, lawyers and parishioners have joined in opposing the fence because it is threatening access to a 153-year-old church on the banks of the Rio Grande known as “La Lomita.”

More Politics

-- With more than 2,300 U.S. troops still stationed at the southern border, lawmakers pressed Defense Department officials to defend the deployment of active-duty members and asked whether Trump plans on declaring a national emergency so he can use Pentagon funds for a border wall.

-- In an assessment casting doubt on Trump’s goal of a nuclear-disarmed North Korea, U.S. intelligence agencies told Congress that the North is unlikely to entirely dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

-- Roger Stone, a Trump ally and advisor, pleaded not guilty in the Russia investigation; a federal judge in Virginia has delayed Paul Manafort’s sentencing on tax and bank fraud convictions; and former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has some new lawyers and will testify in another closed-door House panel hearing.

-- Democrats have tapped Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia governor race, to deliver the response to Trump’s State of the Union address.

A Rare Rebuke for a New Sheriff

Los Angeles County supervisors have criticized Sheriff Alex Villanueva over his reinstatement of a deputy accused of stalking a woman. Some of them are questioning whether Villanueva, who was elected just two months ago in an upset victory, is abusing his power. The new sheriff’s response: He told supervisors they would have a more sympathetic view of the matter if they knew all of the facts.

Doing the Math

The L.A. teachers’ strike is over, but its repercussions are not. On Tuesday, L.A. Unified School District officials approved the new teachers’ contract — just as a new analysis by the L.A. County Office of Education raised alarms about whether the district could afford the terms of the deal. District officials also backed a resolution meant to slow down the booming charter school movement that has drained students from the LAUSD.

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The “Arrive Early, Leave Late” podcast goes behind the scenes at the Super Bowl in Atlanta and all the craziness leading up to it.


In 1966, after a long legal battle with Glendale, the American Nazi Party moved its local headquarters to El Monte. For the next decade, the city tried various legal means to force the Nazis to leave, especially after a protest on this date in 1972 turned into a violent clash.

Jan. 30, 1972: Anti-Nazi protesters gather outside the National Socialist White People’s Party headquarters in El Monte. During the protest, eggs, bottles and a wastebasket, shown circled in the above photograph, were thrown.
(William S. Murphy / Los Angeles Times)


-- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he will not run for president, after nearly two years of flirting with the idea.

-- With a law overhauling the state’s cash bail system on hold, bail customers have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging surety companies and agents have conspired to keep premiums high for criminal defendants.

-- Two L.A. City Council members have proposed requiring employers to provide up to 18 weeks of paid parental leave at as much as 100% of their usual wages.

-- Los Angeles police are investigating a number of Turkish flags that were hung at two private Armenian schools.


-- Chicago police are seeking evidence to help identify the people who attacked “Empire” star Jussie Smollett early Tuesday in what authorities are calling a racially charged and homophobic attack.

-- The movie “Always in Season,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, explores an America stained by lynchings and a legacy of racism.

-- If you’ve spent a lifetime loving Michael Jackson and his music, watching the documentary “Leaving Neverland” raises many crushing questions.

-- AMC will air the stylish, darkly comic BBC America espionage thriller “Killing Eve,” as it tries to move on from being known as the network of “The Walking Dead.”


-- The FBI has failed to find a motive behind the Las Vegas mass shooting: “It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy.”

-- After calling just one witness to the stand and presenting a single document, the defense for drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has rested in his federal trial.

-- The Trump administration threatened “serious consequences” against Venezuela for opening a criminal investigation into the country’s U.S.-backed opposition leader, a possible precursor to arrest.

-- The Palestinian Authority prime minister has offered his resignation amid tensions over failing to create a coalition to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He made several references to the Trump administration’s almost complete withdrawal of aid to Palestinians.


-- With a high-level delegation from China in Washington for trade talks today, many on Wall Street and in America’s corporate boardrooms are hoping it will mark a turning point. But there’s little chance of a quick resolution.

-- PG&E Corp.’s move to file for bankruptcy protection from creditors will create ripple effects that are expected to stretch far beyond California and customers of the state’s largest electric utility.

-- The FaceTime video-chat app on your iPhone may have let people eavesdrop on you. Apple Inc. has yanked the flawed feature and says it’s hurrying to fix the underlying problem.


-- In the Super Bowl, what is the Patriots’ secret plan to stop the Rams’ “unblockable” defensive tackle Aaron Donald?

-- UCLA’s men’s basketball team has had trouble reaching for the stars this season.


-- Trump is inviting the third kick of a mule by threatening to shut down the government again in the coming weeks.

-- We already have a reality TV star president, so why not New Age love guru Marianne Williamson? Columnist Robin Abcarian explains.


-- What are deepfakes, and what is the U.S. government trying to do about them? (CNN)

-- Even chicken feet are caught up in the U.S.-China trade war. (Atlas Obscura)

-- In St. Paul, Minn., a women’s hockey team is the hottest ticket in town. (ESPN)


For decades, Lombard Street in San Francisco has attracted tourists looking to traverse the “crookedest street in the world.” But with more than 2 million people coming through in vehicles and on foot each year, things have taken a turn for the worse. Now, transportation officials are considering a $5 to $10 fee and reservations as a way to deal with the crush of cars. And there’s another twist: The street might not even be the crookedest in the city.

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