The first suspected narcotunnel found since El Chapo’s escape has all the hallmarks of Mexico’s top cartel

8/5/15 Business Insider

Map_Downtown_Tijuana_Northern_Baja_California_MexicoThe tunnel is roughly 19 feet deep, 5.5 feet high, and over 400 feet long, and it bears all the signs of the famously subterranean Sinaloa cartel and its leader, “Lord of the Soil” Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the tunnel was discovered by Mexico authorities on June 30, but details were only released on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

The entrance on the Mexican side was located in a warehouse emblazoned with the name Importadora y Exportadora Hega, a company about which internet searches turned up little. (According to El País, googling the company shows that it does cemetery construction.) The passageway, which had not been completed, connected the US and Mexico at a point near the busy border crossing at Garita de San Ysidro, near the city of Tijuana and across the border from San Diego.

The tunnel had light fixtures as well as rail track. Though its exact purpose and designers remain unknown, it is suspected that it was built to smuggle drugs.

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US-Mexico border drug tunnel found near Tijuana

08/03/15 BBC NEWS

TijuanaSecurity forces in Mexico have discovered an underground tunnel aimed at crossing into the United States.

The unfinished tunnel, in the border city of Tijuana, is believed to have been built by the Sinaloa cartel with the aim of smuggling drugs into the US.

Last month Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from a maximum security jail through a 1.5km-long (1 mile) tunnel.

Guzman, one of the world’s most wanted drug dealers, is still on the run.

Officials from the federal prosecutor’s office said the tunnel was 123m (404ft) long, but came just short of crossing the border.

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Immigration Reform 2015: Tijuana, Mexico Border Security To Be Tightened Over Pedestrian Foot Traffic

7/20/15 International Business Times

border_at_tijuana-tomas-castelazo2Mexican immigration officials will be stepping up their inspections of foreigners entering the country on foot, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A new building for Mexican immigration and customs inspection stations is scheduled to open at the Tijuana pedestrian entry in September.

Officials are expected to require foreigners entering Tijuana from San Ysidro, California, to show travel documentation if entering Mexico by foot. Authorities plan to create two pedestrian lanes for those entering Mexico: one for foreigners and one for Mexican citizens.

“Our intention is not to create congestion at the border,” said Rodulfo Figueroa, head of Mexico’s National Migrant Institute in the Mexican state of Baja California, the Union-Tribune reported. “Our intention is to try different strategies to process as many people as we can within a reasonable time frame.”

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Tijuana and the Future of Trade

6/7/15 The Huffington Post

tijuana photoblogSince 1928, Tijuana, Mexico, has been portrayed as the city of sin — the place that allowed “mob entrepreneurs” to take advantage of its strategic location in order to satisfy U.S. demand for all things illegal. Tijuana also became the most visited border city in the world, mainly thanks to tourism.

In 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, it was widely expected to be the key for Mexico to finally join leading economies in the 21st century. The agreement pushed Tijuana to evolve from a focus on tourism to one on manufacturing.

Companies like Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and others opened massive assembly plants there.

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The meth-toting drone that crashed in Tijuana

1/22/15 Washington Post 

AP Photo/Secretaria de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Tijuana
AP Photo/Secretaria de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Tijuana

A drug-toting drone has crashed into a supermarket parking lot in Mexico, a couple of miles from the U.S. border. Authorities said the remote-controlled drone was toting more than six pounds of methamphetamine when it crashed Tuesday night in Tijuana, near the San Ysidro Border Crossing and about 15 miles from San Diego. Six meth packets were strapped to the aircraft with plastic webbing and black tape, police said. Tijuana police told U-T San Diego it was likely carrying the loot between neighborhoods — not across the border. However, it wouldn’t be the first time drug smugglers got creative.

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Mexican Judge Orders Release of Jailed U.S. Marine Veteran

10/31/14 Wall Street Journal

120px-Tijuana-San_Diego_borderA Mexican judge has ordered the immediate release of a jailed U.S. Marine veteran who spent eight months behind bars for crossing the border with loaded guns. Family spokesman Jonathan Franks told the Associated Press on Friday that the judge decided to release retired Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. Mr. Franks said the judge released him without making a determination on the charge against him. “It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican Jail,” the family said in a statement.

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Energy Reform Approved, Border Infrastructure Spending, and Biden “Guarantees” Immigration Reform – Weekly News Summary: December 13

coffee-by-flikr-user-samrevel1The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English language press had to say…

This week’s news outlets centered in the Energy Reform approved by both the Mexican Senate and Chamber of Deputies. As expected, the law includes measures to open the oil and gas industry to private and foreign investment, through cash, profit-sharing and production contracts. What is new however, as a Forbes article explains, is the legal entity of the “license”. Although the legislation still explicitly prohibits the use of concessions in the hydrocarbons sector, the license will act in a very similar way, with the idea that it will be applied to unconventional projects like shale. The Economist noted that, as a consequence of the Reform, financial markets reacted with a burst of enthusiasm absent for most of the year, although it also claimed that the potential benefit from the reform will depend on the strength of secondary legislation that will specify what contracts will be offered for which type of oil or gas field, and what royalties and taxes the government will take. Finally, The Global Post noted that there were still political hurdles to overcome and that it will take a while before Mexico finally sees the investments and technology it needs to improve capacity and modernize Pemex.

On another topic, several news outlets highlighted stories concerning border issues. KPBS noted that U.S. and Mexico officials joined together on Tuesday in San Diego to signal construction crews to begin work on a $700 million border infrastructure project. The goal of the new freeway, and eventually a new port of entry, is to increase the $54 billion worth of goods that move across the Tijuana – San Diego Region by cutting border wait times that exceed two hours. The New York Times published a story describing how, even when agents do their jobs professionally and well, current immigration policy fosters insanity and menace in the Southern Border. It argues that when migrants have no hope of visas, the Border Patrol’s job is made harder while the drug lords get richer. On another note,  the San Diego Union Tribune published a piece stating that the unprecedented spending of the U.S. government on border security has led to a nearly nonstop stream of reports, audits and studies criticizing how some of that money has been spent. Customs and Border Protection has acknowledged errors but also insists the unprecedented boost in spending has made the border far more secure.

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