One of the presumed leaders of the powerful Arellano Félix Cartel, historically based in Tijuana, Baja California, was detained by state police in the border city yesterday.
Felipe Avitia Sarellana, better known by his nickname “El Boca de Bagre” (Catfish Mouth), was captured in the Valle Verde neighborhood in an Audi that a police patrol identified as having been stolen in the United States. Police also secured four firearms, three kilograms of methamphetamines and ammunition.
According to state police, Avitia had been threatened on several large narcomantas hung from overpasses in the Sánchez Taboada neighborhood, which is hotly disputed by rival drug gangs.
Tijuana and its valuable access to the border was the undisputed territory of the Arellano Félix Cartel in the 90s until 2010 when it became embroiled in violent conflict with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel and later, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel under the command of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes.
This year, the Mexican nonprofit Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice gave Tijuana the dubious title of being the world’s deadliest city based on 138 killings per 100,000 residents, an average of seven murders a day.