A wave of cartel-related executions following the discovery of an uncompleted drug tunnel near the Tijuana airport on April 7 has swept the northern Baja border town.
The slayings began with Edgar “El Chore” Ruiz, an operator of a retail drug network in Tijuana, who was found dead April 8 in Canyon De Los Carretes in Colonia Nuevo Milenio.
Three men have claimed responsibility for his murder: Roberto Enrique “Gordo” Garcia Hidalgo, Luis Ivan “El Chucho” Corona Velez and Mario Pacheco Francisco Mendoza held a press conference following the discovery of El Chore’s body and revealed the details of the killing, claiming they were ordered by their bosses to assassinate him because he was selling AK-47’s and shotguns, among other weapons, to a rival drug cartel.
On the following day, April 9, the ringleader of the Arellano Felix drug cartel network, Manuel Toscano Luis Rodríguez, known as “El Mono,” believed to be in charge of the northern Tijuana area, was killed near the prison in La Mesa while eating at a taco stand.
Two days later, Sarak Entebi, the owner of many upscale gyms in exclusive Tijuana neighborhoods along with his business partner Hernando Chávez Díaz, was found dead on a street behind the Lucerna Hotel in the city.
He was allegedly a crystal methamphetamine distributor, sending the product to San Diego via female drug mules, and is suspected in the deaths of several.
Adding to the increase in cartel activity were 13 narco banners displayed throughout Tijuana on April 5, seemingly foreshadowing the violence to come between the Sinaloa Cartel and Cartel Arrellano Felix (CAF). The banners threatened a “cleansing” against “El Tomate’s people and his allies” and “not against the people or the government.”
El Tomate is believed to be the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel in Tijuana. The message was signed by the Tijuana New Generation and the Jalisco New Generation cartels.
Police removed the banners upon their discovery.