Narco-killing spree in Tijuana, Culiacán

Police discovered the tortured and burned bodies of six men in an empty lot in Tijuana July 7, bringing the total found over the weekend to 11—including the corpse of a woman found in a barrel. The three-day tally pushed the city’s death toll this year to more than 260, compared with about 152 homicides at this time last year. Authorities are just beginning to identify the bodies, and so far confirm speculation the deceased were involved in the drug traffic. Some of the victims’ heads were wrapped in plastic, and a body found July 7 in the Tijuana River bore signs of torture and was wrapped in a carpet.

Authorities say Tijuana had been relatively quiet since a spectacular April shootout claimed several lives. More than 3,000 federal soldiers are backing up municipal, federal and Baja California state police in the battle for the city.

Meanwhile in Culiacán, gunmen assassinated the head of the Sinaloa State Preventative Police, Raymundo Gonzalez Mendoza. Five other people in Sinaloa also were slain, including two who were decapitated. Two of the bodies were found with a “narco-message” from Manuel Torres Félix AKA “El Ondeado.”

So far this year, more than 2,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico, according to the Mexico City newspaper El Universál. Last year’s total through June was 1,410, according to the newspaper. (LAT, July 8; El Universál, Milenio, July 7)

See our last post on the crisis in Mexico.