Daily Archives: July 15, 2009

The Los Angeles connection to Mexico’s Arellano-Felix cartel

felixThe U.S. media gets  flack from some Mexicans for focusing so much attention on the drug violence that happens south of the border.

“Why doesn’t anyone write about the top-level drug traffickers in your own country?”  was a question posed to me once by Jesus Blancornelas, the editor of Tijuana’s muckracking weekly Zeta newspaper when I first started working as a border reporter with The San Diego Union-Tribune nine years ago. Blancornelas, who regularly wrote about the Arellanos and other drug groups operating along the Mexican border,  had almost been killed in an ambush in 1997 that was later tied to the Arellano-Felix drug cartel.

To him, it didn’t make sense that so much attention was placed on drug traffickers and violence south of the border when it appeared to him those drugs had to be distributed through a centralized system north of the border that would require some degree of institutional corruption. I replied that perhaps it was a question of the scope of the problem being much larger in Mexico – a valuable transit area with weaker institutions –  than in the United States: Mexico had its capos, and the U.S. had smaller-scale dealers with lower profiles.

Still, his question lingered with me over the years as I occasionally wrote about the Arellano-Felix drug group’s activities in San Diego and Chula Vista. Recently, I read a story in the Los Angeles Times that explored a connection with the Arellano-Felix drug cartel in a 101-Freeway shooting in December, 2008, that left the the driver of a $100,000 Bentley dead. According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the paper, the victim “might have been selling drugs here for the notorious Arellano Felix cartel.” (Read the article here)

I thought that when I took a job in Los Angeles last year I had left the Arellanos behind, but I guess not. They are, in a sense, everywhere.

 

Photo of car dealership in Los Angeles that has no known connection to the Arellano-Felix drug group whatsoever.

Tijuana events for the weekend of July 17-19: Opera, Beer and Erotica

 

 

Credit goes to the Tijuana Convention & Visitors Bureau for compiling this trio of things to do in Tijuana this weekend of July 17 (Friday) through July 19 (Sunday). I was aware of the beer festival and the Opera festival – but not of the Annual Exxxpo Erotica. Here are snippets from the press release:

Tijuana’s 6th Annual Street Opera Festival takes place on Saturday with performances by 150 artists, singers, actors, dancers and musicians. This free street fair attracts thousands of people each year from Baja California and California. The Festival starts at 12 noon on Saturday, July 18, lasting until midnight, and is located along Calle Quinta (5th Street) and Aquiles Serdan streets in Colonia Libertad (just a few blocks east of the Pueblo Amigo Shopping Mall, south of the San Ysidro Border Crossing). Learn and hear more about Tijuana’s opera scene through this documentary produced by Stories de la Frontera:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JOiQwWHva8

 

 5th Annual International Craft Beer Festival – Check out more than 70 types of beer from 15 breweries in Mexico and around the world. Participating breweries include San Diego’s own Stone Brewing Company, Port Brewing Company, Tsingtao, Paulaner, Bear Republic, Carlsberg, Baja Brewing Company, and Cerveceria Tijuana (Tijuana’s own, award-winning micro-brewery). This three-day event (lasting Friday July 17 through Sunday, July 19) will be held at the Tijuana Caliente Casino and Race Track. Live rock, music and local singers – and local food. 

 

The Festival hours are Friday from 7:00pm to 1:00am, Saturday from 12:00pm to 12:00am (noon to midnight), and Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Tickets are $5 ($60 pesos) per person, and include a threesome of your choice of beers. For more information: http://www.tjbeerfest.com/

 

Tijuana’s 2 Annual Exxxpo Erotica showcases adult entertainment, sexy fashion shows, educational workshops, sdance performances (for him and her), and a spicy collection of lingerie from the largest adult stores in Northwest Mexico. Held just a 10 minute drive from the 

border at Mezzanine Events Hall (near the intersection of the Via Rapida and Blvd. Insurgentes) – or a quick taxi ride from the Craft Beer Festival. Cost for adults 18 and over is $170 pesos (approximately US$13) at the door, with show hours from noon to midnight each day.  Event lasts Friday through Sunday. If you are old enough, go here: http://exxxpoerotica.com/Exxxpoerotica_17,18_y_19_de_Julio_del_2009.html