Jan 12 Mexican police captured major drug
trafficker Teodoro Garcia Simental, known for having the
corpses of tortured rivals dissolved in acid, in the northern
border city of Tijuana on Tuesday. [N12202064]
Here are some facts about drug violence in the city, which
lies across from San Diego, California.
* Violence broke out in the border city once popular with
U.S. tourists in 2005 when Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, Mexico's
most wanted trafficker, sent his hitmen to try to take control
of Tijuana from the weakened Arellano Felix cartel.
* At its height in the 1990s, the Arellano Felix clan
shipped tons of Colombian cocaine into California. U.S. and
Mexican law enforcement slowly weakened the Tijuana cartel,
killing leading drug lord Ramon Arellano Felix and arresting
his brother Benjamin.
* The cartel has regrouped under the leadership of
35-year-old Fernando Sanchez Arellano, known as "The Engineer"
because he studied engineering at a private university. Sanchez
Arellano has the support of his accountant aunt, Enedina
Arellano Felix, who helps run the cartel's financial
* Garcia Simental, who ran the armed wing of the cartel,
disputed Sanchez Arellano's leadership and tried to use
shocking violence to win control of the cartel. Unsuccessful,
he later set up a rival gang and allied with Guzman while
diversifying into kidnapping and extorting local businesses.
* The three-way war between Guzman, Garcia Simental and
Arellano Sanchez has turned Tijuana into one of Mexico's most
violent cities with some 1,400 drug killings in the past two
years. That has scared off U.S. tourists who used to come in
droves for cheap sex, medicines and tequila.
* Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent thousands of
soldiers to Tijuana in January 2007 and has since deployed more
troops and elite naval forces, but the military presence has
failed to stop the killings.
* Guzman is still at large, believed to live in Mexico's
"Golden Triangle" of remote mountains in Sinaloa, Durango and
Chihuahua state. He has a $5 million bounty on his head in the
United States, while the Mexican government has offered a $2.3
million reward for information leading to Arellano Sanchez's
(For more information about the capture of the drug gang
leader, click on [ID:nN12202064])
(Reporting by Robin Emmott)