How drug traffickers stay fit in Mexico


Picture 10The fact that another suspected Arellano Felix drug cartel member had been arrested in Tijuana wasn’t as interesting to me as where he was found. Mexican media reported that Filiberto Parra Ramos was detained June 10 either inside or just outside the Total Fitness Gym, in the city’s  Zona Rio business district.

That’s the same gym I used to go to when I lived in Tijuana, and to be honest I’m a little surprised he wasn’t going to the swankier Sports World Tijuana gym (the Arellanos’ recreation budget must have been cut). I remember visiting both gyms and deciding not to got to Sports World because the monthly membership was closer to $300 (someone correct me here, if needed…) and because it seemed to be the kind of place where people looked great but didn’t seem to be capable of sweating.

At Total Fitness the equipment area was a little more cramped but there was a lot of sweating going on. Both places had some similar details, such as rock scaling areas and lap pools. At Total Fitness, I had a membership for about $100 a month and a personal trainer who was preparing for a body building competition. At times he seemed more interested in his own physique, but he dutifully kept me from cutting corners with the weights and sneaking off the bikes too early.

Both mega-gyms opened sometime after the year 2000, providing an alternative for wealthier Tijuanenses whose exercise options had previously involved jogging at public park facilities or crossing the border to work out in Chula Vista. For me, the main impetus to work out was to stay fit in my jeans. The stakes are probably much higher for someone like Parra, who was reportedly part of the Arellanos’ killer squad. 

Screenshot from Total Fitness website. They have some gym promo going for $35.

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4 responses to “How drug traffickers stay fit in Mexico

  1. Pingback: Posts about the Drug Cartels as of June 12, 2009 | EL CHUCO TIMES_El Paso_News

  2. I don’t know if you saw his detention photograph out of Mexico City, but it sure looked like he was over-doing it on the tacos and not spending enough time at the gym. A little more time on the stairmaster, and he might have tempered those aggressive tendencies.

  3. Who is your source? That guy was arrested in a mall, not in a GYM…

  4. Hi, AFN7. I got that information from Mexican media.

    It was reported in the news website AFNTijuana, which is run by respected Mexican journalist Dora Elena Cotes: http://afntijuana.info/blog/?p=10882

    Frontera also initially mentioned this on their online site, though apparently not in the print version. There appears to be some sort of a gym connection…maybe he was arrested after being trailed from the gym.

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