UPDATED March 3, 11 PM, Pacific Time
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TIJUANA, Mexico – Mexican police and soldiers traded gunfire with suspected drug gang members Monday in a five-hour battle near the U.S. border that left a police officer and one of the suspected criminals dead. The shootout began at a house in a residential neighborhood of Tijuana, Otay Mesa, a drug smuggling hot spot across the border from San Diego. It started Sunday night and went on until early Monday, police said.
SPEED Mex Security Insider Report:
The battle today was the final operation in a three day intel-op, intelligence operation, bringing down a 'black commando' cel of the AFO, Arellano Felix, DTO, drug trade organization.
For the past two days, a military and law enforcement dragnet was conducted from Ensenada to Tijuana, culminating today in the Otay part of Tijuana. Twelve members of the cel, a kidnapping and enforcement cel of the AFO, were taken into custody, before the shootout. The 'shootout' was with a remaining guard of the hideout, who died in the action. The balance of the cel escaped.
Authorities today at a press conference in Tijuana after the operation displayed thousands of rounds of various caliber ammunition, weapons, including high powered machine guns, kevlar helmets and kevlar body armor, numerous authentic police and law enforcement badges, law enforcement image displays on body armor and magnetic signs (for placement on vehicles). Federal, state and local authentic logos, shields and badges were displayed in todays take from the 'black commando hideout '.
No civil law enforcement element in Baja California can be trusted at this time!
Only the military of Mexico and the Peoples Army of Mexico, can be trusted.
PAST COUPLE OF DAYS:
*The body of an unidentified woman was discovered with her head wrapped in cloth along a highway near Tijuana, Baja California state.
*A businessman kidnapped 12 days before was rescued by police in Tijuana, Baja California state. Police also arrested a suspect who was guarding the victim in a house. Authorities searched the house after a pedestrian found notes that the victim had written on toilet paper and tossed out the window onto the sidewalk.
*Authorities in Playas de Rosarito, Baja California state, reported the discovery of human remains believed to belong to more than one victim.
*Police in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, arrested eight members of an alleged kidnapping gang on charges of kidnapping, auto theft and possession of illegal weapons. The group is accused of three kidnappings in the state, where organized criminal activity is less frequent than in the rest of the country.
An American expat: "We crossed back to Baja at San Ysidro yesterday at 1 pm, on Baja side they funneled you down to 2 lanes and were looking in every car. Got to Ensenada and they were checking cars coming into and leaving Ensenada. All heavily armed and really looking at you closely. Any idea if something happened yesterday to cause this?"
"The Agencia Fronteriza de Noticieros reported an "operativo cerco" which I take to mean a kind of dragnet. There was also a report of the rescue of a kidnap victim and arrest of three or more of his captors."
"El Vigia: There are seven detainees Military and police forces besieging entire city. During three hours over 400 elements were deployed throughout the urban stain seeking drugs, weapons and criminals Most detainees are young. Report from: Ensenada, B.C. -- A total of seven people arrested for possession of prohibited substances and the confiscation of various quantities of drugs, was the result of the operation called "Citizen Security," which was implemented yesterday so surprising in different parts of the city.
In this cumbersome deployment involved more than 400 elements of the Federal Preventive police (PFP) and State Preventive (PEP, Ministerial State, the Army, Navy Mexico and municipal officers of the Rapid Reaction Unit (URI). Backed by air by a helicopter of the PEP board and 30 official vehicles, troops and military police are bet at the entrances and exits from the slick urban conducted searches in bars, hotels and motels located in the "Bajio" established filters revision in the main roads and toured colonies on the periphery. These actions took place from 13:30 hours Friday and lasted until 16:30 pm, when the director of the State Preventive Police (PEP), Justo Buenaventura Jaime, announced the results of operations.
He announced that "Citizen Security" will spill over into the five municipalities of the entity, also on a surprise and random, to provide security to bajacalifornianos. "It starts in Ensenada for the information that we have, but they are considered all municipalities in the state, where participate military, naval, federal, ministerial and municipal levels," he reiterated. He indicated that the day yesterday reinforced the local commander of the PEP with 60 elements from other cities joined the different routes. Results The owner of the PEP, Buenaventura Just Jaime, announced in a press conference the results of the operation which took place over three hours in this port.
He said they were arrested for possession of prohibited substances: Diana Berenice Perez Coronado 20 years, Fabiola De la Rosa Vargas, 23, Juan Luis Gonzales Solis, 27, of 34 Victor Zavala Jimenez, Daniel Garcia Horacio Aguirre of 39, Sergio Garcia Felipe Chavez Carlos Hurtado, 28, and Acosta, 29. The state official called on the community to denounce the 089 or the 066 so-called "shoppers", as well as illicit occurring in their colonies. Balance of operations Detainees 7 Drugs seized ICE 8.9 grams Cocaine 1.6 grams Marijuana 3 kilograms Metanfetaminas 87 pills Ecstasy 8 Forerunner 515 grams of drugs Money secured 820 pesos Utensils weighing and consumption of narcotics."
Recent Press Report:
""Tijuana's recent wave of violence appears to have driven another nail into the coffin of a tourism industry already hobbled by its reputation for tacky tourist traps, rowdy bars and long waits at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing.
Visits are down 90 percent since 2005, when an estimated 4.5 million people came to the area, according to the downtown merchants association.
On an average day now, only about 150 tourists show up, the association says. Some encounter the latest Tijuana spectacle: convoys of heavily armed soldiers rumbling down Avenida Revolucion.
"We never imagined that tourists would stop coming," said Clark Alfaro of the Bi-National Center for Human Rights. "It's a shame.""
Previous update 12 noon
Hall Family Truck Finally Recovered!
This message was received today from the Hall family of San Diego, who were victimized during the SCORE Baja 1000 in November. [search terms "hall family, baja crime"]
"Hello to all,
Wonder of all wonders! We have just been notified that Chris' truck has been recovered and is now in a impound yard somewhere east of Yuma! Crazy. We are hoping to get a look at it in the next week or so, who knows maybe it has not been hollowed out...
To those of you headed to San Felipe we wish you safe travels.
Original Story from March 1, 2008
Baja Racing News.com NEWS BULLETIN!
Baja Tourism Chief comments on Baja Crime Wave
March 1, 4 PM Pacific Time
San Diego, CA USA-
Today, the Baja Tourism Chief commented, "the (Baja Crime) problem is basically a City of Tijuana image problem".
There were 17 incidents last year involving tourists from the United States, according to Oscar Escobedo Carignan, Baja California's tourism secretary. Concerns and publicity about crime have led to nearly 2 million fewer visitors to the state last year.
“We have an image problem,” acknowledged Escobedo, the tourism chief in Baja California Mexico. He sought to reassure those attending that local, state and federal officials are beefing up security and police patrols to ensure greater safety. Municipal governments, he said, are training roughly 100 officers to serve as “tourist police” in Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada.
“We had 17 incidents last year – very regretful incidents – but from the news you would think we had thousands,” he said. “We're well aware of what's going on with organized crime, and the federal government is facing it head-on.”
Despite the calls of tourism related business in Baja California for action, the Chief said to a mostly friendly meeting in Mission Valley this afternoon, "we will spend $1.7 Million dollars on public relations and a half a million dollars on damage control", regarding the "image problem".
"17 incidents have been restated over and over again that have created this image problem", he continued. "the city of Tijuana has the image problem, we have fired 300 Tijuana police officers this year and will put on patrol a new 'tourist friendly, Metro police' that will patrol from Tijuana to Ensenada."
More details on the Chiefs news making comments will be found at Baja Safari NOW! later today. Including electricity has been brought to Bahia de Los Angeles for the first time, escalera nautica continues, San Felipe airport will be in Department of Tourism hands soon and Baja California will adopt a landmark procedure for legal reviews, the first in the Republic of Mexico.
For more information on the Chiefs comments about tourism in Baja California (Baja Norte) go to Baja Safari NOW at http://bajasafari.blog.com/
Baja Racing News.com BULLETIN