INSIGHT CRIME — Homicides in Mexico’s Baja California nearly doubled during January 2016 when compared to the same month last year, raising speculation the Jalisco Cartel is seeking to exert control over the state’s lucrative drug routes into the United States.
According to data (pdf) from Mexico’s National Public Security System (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública – SNSP), January saw 1,534 murders nationwide, an increase of 7.42 percent over January 2015. The most notable increase was in Baja California with 99 murders, compared to 52 in January 2015. The northern border city of Tijuana accounted for 71 of last month’s murders in Baja California.
Several officials have attributed Tijuana’s increased violence to the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (Cartel de Jalisco – Nueva Generación – CJNG), reported the Los Angeles Times. The CJNG “is the new player in town that is trying to gain control of the Tijuana plaza” said Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) office in San Diego.
However, Daniel de la Rosa, Baja California’s public safety secretary, asserted the CJNG does not have a strong physical presence in the state. Rather, he suggests the criminal organization is focused on forging alliances with members of the Tijuana underworld in a challenge to the Sinaloa Cartel, considered to be the city’s dominant drug trafficking group.