Mexican border city hit by burning vehicles and blockades

TIJUANA, Mexico—In addition to Rosarito and Ensenada, Tijuana and Mexicali, which border Mexico, have been hit by gang violence, including vehicle arson and roadblocks.

The U.S. Consulate in Tijuana instructed its employees to “evacuate to the location until further notice” around midnight due to the late Friday riots.

This is the third time this week that a Mexican city has been set on fire or shot by a drug cartel. Gangs appear to target stores, vehicles, and innocent bystanders in response to conflicts and attempts to capture gang members.

Officials in Baja California said a total of 24 vehicles were hijacked and burned at various locations across the state. 15 in Tijuana, 3 in Rosarito, 2 each in Mexicali, Ensenada and Tecate.

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Firefighters work at the site of a burning mass transit vehicle after it was set on fire by an unidentified individual in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, August 12, 2022. (Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images)

Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero condemned the conflict between drug cartels and called for an end to the violence.

Caballero has publicly resorted to “organized crime,” a term used for drug cartels in Mexico, to stop the growing trend of targeting innocent civilians.

“Today, we are telling the organized crime groups committing these crimes that Tijuana will remain open and that citizens will be taken care of,” Caballero said in the video. He didn’t pay what he owed, not to his family or hardworking citizens. ”

Late Friday, the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana said in a statement that it was “aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police action in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate.”

Few people ventured out into the streets of Tijuana on Saturday, with many buses and passenger cars shutting down, leaving some residents unable to reach their destinations.

“Let them fight among themselves, but leave us alone,” said Blanca Estella Fuentes, who lives in Tijuana, as she searched for public transportation. “I mean, they’re killing each other. They can do whatever they want, so why is the public blaming us?”

Later on Saturday, Tijuana Mayor Caballero said some bus and van lines had resumed operations.

The Federal Public Security Service said one person was injured in the riot, and federal, state and local forces detained 17 suspects. Of these, seven were arrested in Tijuana, four in Rosarito and Mexicali.

Some of the suspects have been identified as members of the Jalisco cartel.

mexican police
On August 9, during a clash with another gang in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, members of the state prosecutor’s office and city police set fire to a bus blocking a highway to prevent authorities from pursuing them. , guarding the area where gang members opened fire. 2022. (Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images)

The area around Tijuana, which borders southern California, was long a lucrative drug trafficking corridor ruled by the Arellano Felix Cartel, but has since become a battleground between various gangs, including the Jalisco and Sinaloa Cartels. has become

The mayor’s comments that Tijuana remains open are a reference to the border city of Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, where several classes and public events were canceled after similar riots occurred on Thursday. It was

In Ciudad Juarez, an alleged gang member kills nine people, including four radio station employees, after a brawl between rival gangs in a local prison killed two inmates. .

Drug cartel gunmen set fire to vehicles and businesses in the western states of Jalisco and Guanajuato on Tuesday in response to an attempt to arrest a high-ranking cartel leader of the Jalisco cartel.

mexican police
An area where gang members set fire to a bus blocking a highway to prevent authorities from chasing them while they clash with another gang in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, on August 9, 2022. (Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images)

Oxxo, a national chain of convenience stores owned by Femsa, the country’s largest bottling company, said 25 stores in Guanajuato, which borders the state of Jalisco, home to the cartel of the same name, were completely or partially burned down on Tuesday. rice field.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Thursday about the violence in Ciudad Juárez: It wasn’t just a clash between the two groups, it got to the point where they started shooting civilians, innocent people. ”

Four employees of Mega Radio station broadcasting a live promotional event outside a pizza parlor in Ciudad Juárez were killed in the shooting.

violence in mexico
Members of the Mexican Armed Forces and forensic experts at the site of the death of four radio station workers and the injury of two restaurant workers on August 11, 2022 in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. (Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)

Such random violence is not unheard of in Mexico.

Last June, a rival faction of the Gulf Cartel invaded the border city of Reynosa, killing 14 people the governor identified as “innocent citizens.” The military responded and shot dead the four suspects.

Associated Press