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  HOME | Mexico

11 Murdered in Tijuana, Mexico
Gunmen also opened fire on a Baja California state Attorney General's Office.

MEXICO CITY -- At least 11 people were murdered in and around the Mexican border city of Tijuana in separate incidents over the weekend, police said.

Several gunmen also opened fire on a Baja California state Attorney General's Office facility located in one of Tijuana's most dangerous neighborhoods.

Two of the killings occurred in the neighboring city of Playas de Rosarito, where a body was found Saturday and gunmen murdered an 18-year-old man a day later.

In Tijuana, which is near San Diego, California, two people were killed and five others wounded around midnight Saturday.

Eyewitnesses said several masked gunmen chased the victims, cornering them in the yard of a house and opening fire as they tried to flee.

At about the same time, the bodies of two men were found in a street in another part of the border city, which has been the scene of a battle for control of the Tijuana cartel between Fernando Sanchez Arellano, who is the leader of one of the factions of the drug cartel founded by his uncles, the Arellano Felix brothers, and top enforcer Teodoro "El Teo" Garcia Simental.

Several masked gunmen attacked a taco stand Sunday, killing one person and wounding another individual.

A bullet-riddled body was found in another part of Tijuana, where more than 700 people have been murdered this year.

Gunmen also wounded two people in a residential area of the border city.

The latest violence in Mexico, however, was not limited to Baja California state.

In neighboring Sonora state, officials said a man was gunned down in the city of San Pedro de Ures by a suspect who was recently released from jail.

Police in Guerrero state said a body bearing stab wounds was found in a lagoon in the city of Zihuatanejo, while media outlets reported that gunmen killed a man in Mexico City.

Four people died in a clash between rival criminal groups in a remote mountainous area in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, near the border with Chihuahua state, a Sinaloa Attorney General's Office spokesman told Efe on Saturday.

The shootout occurred between the afternoon of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the AG's office said, adding that two bodies ended up at the bottom of a ravine.

Two people being treated at a nearby hospital were taken away by 10 to 13 gunmen armed with assault rifles who grabbed the patients and drove away in SUVs.

Armed groups linked to Mexico's drug cartels murdered around 2,700 people in 2007 and 1,500 in 2006, with the death toll this year already at nearly 5,400, according to press tallies.

The majority of the killings have occurred in the states of Chihuahua, Baja California and Sinaloa.

Experts say that Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking organizations are the Tijuana cartel, which is run by the Arellano Felix brothers, the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa cartel. Two other large drug trafficking organizations, the Juarez and Milenio cartels, also operate in the country.

Since taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 30,000 soldiers and federal police to nearly a dozen of Mexico's 31 states in a bid to stem the wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers.

The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels' ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking prosecutors.

The Attorney General's Office recently began investigating its own staff, particularly the SIEDO organized crime unit's members and the Federal Investigations Agency, Mexico's equivalent of the FBI.

As part of the probe, begun after a protected informant revealed links between drug cartel kingpins and police, a dozen high-ranking officials, including erstwhile drug czar Noe Ramirez, have been arrested.

The initial investigation concluded that Ramirez received $500,000 a month for sharing intelligence with drug lords.


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