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There are a lot of questions in the air surrounding Tijuana’s public safety infrastructure following the abrupt resignation of Tijuana’s police chief, Alejandro Lares, reports KPBS.
Lares made vague references to a media smear campaign against him on his way out the door. It’s unclear whether he was referring to a story that came out a day earlier on homeless migrants living in the city’s canals.
Another big problem Tijuana officials are grappling with: Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación has aggressively expanded from the states of Jalisco and Michoacán into Tijuana, rivaling other major groups like Los Zetas and the Knights Templar Cartel.
“The group’s growing presence coincides with a surge in homicides in Tijuana that started last spring,” the Union Tribune’s Sandra Dibble reports.
With the participation of Nueva Generación, the battle for control of Tijuana’s neighborhood drug trade and lucrative smuggling routes to the United States has entered a new phase, one that has left the Sinaloa cartel increasingly on the defensive and led to the defections of some of its members, according to law-enforcement officials.
Nueva Generación “is the new player in town that is trying to gain control of the Tijuana plaza,” said Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Diego office.
While the extent of Nueva Generación’s physical presence and influence is the subject of some debate, there is consensus about this: The group is now involved in both the street-level sales, narcomenudeo, and cross-border smuggling activities, called trasiego.
The group’s fast-growing reach is no coincidence, Dibble points out, as it is apparently being built on an old, familiar foundation.
To gain control in Tijuana, Nueva Generación has been recruiting former members of the Arellano Félix Organization and persuading Sinaloa operatives to switch sides, according to one U.S. law-enforcement official. “They’re not just lightly treading through here. They’re setting up shop and digging in their heels,” he said.
The Softer Side of El Chapo
Emma Coronel Aispuro says she isn’t used to giving interviews. In a rare sitdown with the L.A. Times, the former beauty queen and wife of notorious cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, recounts her eight years alongside the kingpin. Per the Times:
Coronel is the third wife of the drug lord, who is 32 years her senior. Her daughters are among 19 children he is said to have fathered. She dismisses, though, the oft-repeated reports of Guzman’s brutality toward women.
“He would be incapable of touching a woman with bad intentions, of trying to make her do something she didn’t want to do,” Coronel says, speaking calmly, almost in a monotone, as she described a life that started in the rural hills of Durango and somehow became a twisted fairy tale of romance, intrigue and fear—fear for a husband almost constantly on the run, for her family, for the international legal drama that lies ahead as he faces criminal charges in the United States.
It has been a life, she says, lived always “in the eye of the hurricane.”
Yet she says she has accepted that she is powerless to change it. “‘What if?’ doesn’t exist,” she said. If her husband is extradited to the United States to stand trial—probably foreclosing once and for all any possibility of another escape—she will be present.
“I will follow to wherever he is,” she says. “I am in love with him. He is the father of my children.”
What Baja Has in Common With Gaza
Tunnels are among the most effective means of smuggling, which is why they keep popping up in Otay Mesa again and again and again.
That’s why the U.S. is bankrolling a $120 million Israeli effort to detect and combat the structures, according to a recent report. Israel’s effort is a response to the fact that Palestine nationals, cut off from the world in 2007, “dug tunnels to survive, giving rise to a sophisticated network of underground passageways that provided an isolated population with access to basic everyday items denied to them by the blockade,” according to a site called The Electronic Intifada.
Building Bridges, Not Walls
Vice President Joe Biden, along with three Cabinet secretaries and other U.S. officials, traveled to Mexico City on Feb. 25 to meet with Mexican counterparts for the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue.
According to Forbes, “14,800 container trucks cross the U.S.-Mexico border each day. They carry much of the $1.6 billion in daily trade that makes Mexico the third largest economic partner and the second largest export market of the U.S., and that makes the U.S. Mexico’s top economic partner”
During his visit, Biden said he felt “almost obliged to apologize” for recent GOP comments on the country and its people.
Speaking of some of those comments, a commentary piece over at The Washington Post characterizes performance artist Donald Trump’s plan for the border as a “big, beautiful door” through which the “good ones” would come in.
The column takes a comical graphic approach to Trump’s’ ever-changing stats for the majestic structure.
“So you take precast plank,” Trump said. “It comes 30 feet long, 40 feet long, 50 feet long. You see the highways where they can span 50, 60 feet, even longer than that, right? And do you a beautiful nice precast plank with beautiful everything. Just perfect.”
He added: “I want it to be so beautiful because maybe someday they’ll call it the Trump Wall.”
But what about the imminent threat to residents close to either side of the structure, passenger planes and even drones that might be thrown off by the glare? If it is in fact a Trump Wall, you can bet the thing will be brass-plated.