USA News

Tijuana returns to normalcy after vehicle fires, cartel threats rock city, region

Less than 48 hours after cartel threats and a wave of vehicle fires effectively shut down Tijuana, businesses were open and residents could be seen going about their day in an apparent return to normalcy.

National Guard troops continued to patrol the streets of the border city on Sunday, but people also went to church and grabbed lunch. The supermarket chain Calimax, which closed early Friday and Saturday, restored its normal business hours on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana lifted a shelter-in-place order issued Friday.

At least two dozen vehicles were set ablaze across the state Friday, including 15 in Tijuana. Some were public transportation vehicles, and others were privately owned cars, authorities said. In some cases, the burning vehicles blocked roadways. The fires also were reported in Mexicali, Rosarito Beach, Tecate and Ensenada.

At the same time, messages posted to social media, purportedly from the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, or CJNG, declared a curfew was being implemented in Tijuana. The posts told residents to go home or risk being attacked.

Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero Ramírez attributed the violent acts to the cartel, citing information from the state’s attorney general.

The mayhem in Baja California mirrored similar bouts of violence in the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato earlier in the week, stunning residents across the country and crystalizing the ability of criminal organizations in Mexico to unleash violence, shatter normalcy and shut down cities without hesitation.

While there were no reports of injuries, the destruction in Tijuana and the online threats were enough to prompt businesses to close and residents to stay inside their homes late Friday and much of Saturday.

On Sunday, federal officials confirmed that National Guard troops continued to patrol the city, although it was unclear how many soldiers were in the streets. Military troops and special forces arrived in Tijuana Saturday, joining local police and National Guard and Army troops who were already deployed across the city.

Baja California authorities on Sunday said various levels of government and law enforcement will continue to protect the region and “neutralize” dangerous individuals.

Federal officials previously said 17 suspects were arrested in connection with the violent acts in Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada and Rosarito Beach, and eight were flown to Mexico City to be interviewed by investigators.

Further details about the suspects were not available Sunday.

Authorities said they will continue to work to create calm and peace across the state.

“We will not let our guard down,” the state attorney general’s office said in a statement Sunday. “We call for unity and denunciation of all acts that seek to take away our peace of mind. We are here to protect and serve.”

State and federal governments have come under fire for their response to organized crime. Some say they have failed to protect residents and hold criminals accountable. After Friday’s crime wave, Mayor Caballero Ramírez found herself at the center of controversy after she said Tijuana residents shouldn’t have to “pay the consequences of people who didn’t pay their bills” — a statement many took to mean those who do not pay extortion fees to cartels.

Some said the remarks implied there was room for payback and that organized crime leaders call the shots when it comes to safety in Baja California.

On Sunday, she issued a statement in an apparent response to those criticisms.

“I want it to be clear: no one who threatens the safety of our families is welcome in this city,” the mayor said. “Let the crooks settle their matters among themselves, outside of our city, we don’t want them here, don’t mess with those of us who work every day to build a better future and a Tijuana for all.”

She added: “What happened Friday hurts, but it doesn’t paralyze us.”

Staff members Wendy Fry and Alejandro Tomayo contributed to this report.

File source

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close