The capture of a major suspected drug trafficker at a Tijuana house this weekend got me thinking about the place I called home for almost two years: The apartment complex is in a peaceful neighborhood just a few minutes from Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion, but as you can see it’s surrounded by walls
I ended up at here because I wanted to feel safe. If you write enough stories about the drug cartels, people come out of the woodwork with unclear motives. Besides, I also needed a place to park both my personal car and the company car (belonging to The San Diego Union-Tribune). Most places I looked at had parking space for just one car, but this one gave me two spaces that were tucked out of the sight of car thieves. So I ended up paying about $680 a month for a unit in this four-storied condo complex, which had a light-filled atrium and a daytime security guard/handyman called Raul. There was constant turnover in this complex, and a fair number of expensive vehicles, but most everyone who lived here kept to themselves and I was left to imagine the untold stories behind these quiet walls.
Homes in Tijuana’s nicest neighborhoods homes are typically protected with fortress-like walls to keep out burglars and car thieves. The irony is that sometimes the true criminals are living inside these same protective enclaves. This past weekend, Mexican authorities detained Eduardo Arellano-Felix, who comes from a drug trafficking family that once dominated Tijuana but whose members are rapidly moving into shabbier quarters at Mexican and U.S. prisons. Looking more like a soccer dad than one of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Most Wanted, Arellano was found in a house in one of Tijuana’s nicer neighborhoods, with his young daughter, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Photos: My own former Tijuana home: From outside the walls (top) and from inside looking to the adjacent home’s backyard (below)