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Threatened Tijuana mayor seeks safety at army base after 7 bodies found in pickup truck

The mayor of the Mexican border city of Tijuana said she has decided to go live at an army base for her own safety, after she received threats.

Mayor Montserrat Caballero announced the decision after confirming that police had found seven dead bodies stuffed in a pickup truck on Monday.

“I have received threats, so I am going to live at the base,” Caballero said. Local media reported the army base is on the southern edge of Tijuana, about 5 miles from the city hall.

Caballero did not say who the threats had come from. But it is well known that several drug cartels are waging turf battles in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California.

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Mexican National Guards patrol among the lanes of cars entering the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on May 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

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Killings in Tijuana have risen by about 9% in the last 12 months, according to the federal public safety department. Tijuana has more homicides that any other city in Mexico, with 1,818 killings in the 12-month period ending in May.

Caballero has acknowledged the cartels’ strong presence in the past. In 2022, after gangs carjacked and burned at least 15 vehicles throughout the city, Caballero made a direct public appeal to stop targeting civilians.

“Today we are saying to the organized crime groups that are committing these crimes, that Tijuana is going to remain open and take care of its citizens,” Caballero said in a video in 2022, adding “we also ask them to settle their debts with those who didn’t pay what they owe, not with families and hard-working citizens.”

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