Tijuana is the grandfather of drug trafficking cities in Mexico. Through her gates have passed countless years worth of illicit products, from tequila in the 1920s to today’s flow of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and black tar heroin. Her political elite have fared well under the city’s rise into deviant globalization; in turn, they have facilitated a criminal system that only until recently presented the greatest achievement any one Mexican criminal family could hope to obtain.
Together with the Hank Rohn family, the Arellano Felix Organization ruled Tijuana with steel and blood, cash and drugs, and raw power for decades. They arguably brought Colombia’s FARC into the drug trafficking business, and were among the first families to take advantage of Mexico’s rise as a drug trafficking juggernaut in Latin America. Fantastic wealth and power brought with it the pain of loss and death that only a narco family may experience. The Arellano Felix high water mark of influence on this infamous border city where donkeys drink beer left a stain on the city, an indelible mark clearly visible to those who observe the city’s most recent history of criminal activity.
From 2008 to 2010, Tijuana saw a rapid decline in the Arellano Felix power structure, finalized by a splinter group led by the now incarcerated El Teo, who sought to catapult his group into power through a back door alliance with the traditional rivals of Los Arellano-Felix
. Once the dust settled, an accommodation between the rivals presented our investigators a case study in how a city, once divided, may arrive at a stable accommodation and thus present an example of how the narco culture may co-exist with the rest of Mexican society. In our final criminal environment report for 2012, we present our findings of a close review of the Tijuana Criminal Environment.