Operation Baja California

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Operation Baja California
Part of Mexican Drug War
Date2 January 2007 – present
Result Ongoing

Mexico Mexico

Tijuana Cartel
Commanders and leaders
Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto
Mexico Felipe Calderón
Mexico Guillermo Galván Galván
Mexico Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda
Mexico Luis Cresencio Sandoval
Mexico Mariano Francisco Saynez Mendoza
Mexico Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz
Mexico José Rafael Ojeda Durán
Baja California Eugenio Elorduy Walther
Baja California José Guadalupe Osuna Millán
Baja California Francisco Vega de Lamadrid
Baja California Jaime Bonilla Valdez
Baja California Sur Narciso Agúndez Montaño
Baja California Sur Marcos Covarrubias Villaseñor
Baja California Sur Carlos Mendoza Davis
Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano (POW)
3,000[1] 1,000+

Operation Tijuana or Operation Baja California ( Spanish: Operativo Tijuana or Operación Baja California) of the Government of Mexico is taking place in Tijuana and the surrounding areas of Baja California and Baja California Sur. This operation is part of the Joint Operation Against Drug Trafficking.

Joint forces[edit]

The operation was launched on January 2, 2007, with the deployment of 3,296 officers of the Secretaries of Defense, Navy, Public Security and the department of the Attorney General of Mexico.[2] The Secretariat of Defense sent 2,620 soldiers, 21 airplanes, 9 helicopters, 28 ships, 247 tactical vehicles and ten drug-sniffing dogs. The Navy sent a sea patrol, three interceptor patrols, one helicopter, two support vehicles and 162 marines.[2] The Department of Public Security took the tasks of patrolling, intelligence and investigation as well as taking part in executing orders of arrests, searches and seizures. The Attorney General's Office (PGR) took the tasks of elaborating a map of priorities and provide the tools for information exchange in real-time to facilitate detentions. The PGR will also be present in the 48 local prosecution offices to seize property and take down drug-processing labs.[2] In May 2007, the operations were extended to lesser crimes.[3] The Federal Police, formed by the Federal Agency of Investigation, were to provide 510 officers to participate in tactical analysis, crime investigation, regional security and special operations.[4]


The arrest of The "Cop Killer"[edit]

On April 3, The leader of a band of kidnappers Víctor Magno Escobar Luna (a.k.a. "El Matapolicías", "Cop killer") was apprehended, he was thought to have had links with the state police for at least ten years. He is also thought to have been a member of the state police for a few years.[5]

General Hospital shootout[edit]

On April 18, 2007, a band of criminals entered the General Hospital of Tijuana, took hostages and tried to free a mafia boss that was being treated in the hospital. The liberation was unsuccessful, the criminals exchanged fire with the local police and Army units and were later intercepted but not apprehended by the state and federal police.[6] Three people were reported dead after the shooting and five people apprehended later.[7]

Ongoing confrontations[edit]

On August 27, police officers found three headless bodies in a rubbish dump in Tijuana, killed by drug cartels.[8]

Disarmament of local police[edit]

On December 29, the entire police force in the town of Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, are disarmed from their weapons after suspicion of collaborating with drug cartels.[9]

2007 Results[edit]

The federal forces took away the weapons of the local police officers giving an official explanation of doing a fingerprint-check on them. During this time crime increased 40% to 50%[10] since police officers were left unarmed. Kidnappings decreased from six to two compared to 2006. Federal police officers have also been caught receiving bribes.[11] Deaths by firearm dropped from only 27 in January 2006 to 23 in January 2007.[12] Local police departments also reported increases of 400% of crime between minors.[13]

In May 2007, after the disappointment of the population, President Felipe Calderón asked the public to be patient and declared that it may not be in his administration when the results of these operations will be seen.[14]


On 28 January, army personnel from the Army's 5th special forces battalion and 2nd Motorized Cavalry Regiment succeeded in the arrest of Alfredo Araujo Avila a.k.a. El Popeye in Tijuana. Alfredo Avila is known to be one of the most active assassins from the 1980s to the early 1990s of the Tijuana Cartel in the states of Sinaloa and Baja California.[15]

On April 26, 15 gunmen from the Tijuana Cartel were killed in a gunbattle against rivals.[16]

On May 18, In the city of Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, the 28th Infantry Battalion received a tip that men were unloading packages from a boat to three vehicles, immediately the army were dispatched to the area. Upon arriving the Air Recon team confirmed the report. Realizing they've been caught the men dispersed the area but were apprehended, 11 suspects were arrested along with 2 tons of marijuana.[17]

Eduardo Arellano Félix[edit]

On October 26, Federal Police supported by special forces from 5th Special Forces Battalion capture drug lord Eduardo Arellano Félix a.k.a. "The Doctor" after a shootout in Tijuana.[18]


On October 3, the government ordered 300 Marines and Federal Police forces as "immediate response" to Tijuana, BC. the move comes after a serious number of attacks on Municipal Police officers.[19]


Note: (From April 16 to 30 State Preventive Police anti - drug operations are listed below)[23]

  • April 16 - Mexicali, In the Colonias of Carranza and Naranjos, six people who belong to the Sinaloa Cartel are arrested. 125.8 kilos of cocaine, 17.6 kilos of "ICE", assault rifles, rifle magazines and 25 vehicles were seized.
  • April 27 - Tijuana, In The Colonia of Lomas de la Presa four suspects were arrested who were in possession of 112 kilos of marijuana.
  • April 28 - Tijuana, In the Colonias of Gas and Anexas, three people who are assumed members of the Tijuana Cartel and who were under the command of Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano were arrested. 2 assault rifles, 124 rifle magazines, 700 grams of "crystal", and 490 grams of marijuana were seized.
  • April 29 - In Mexicali in the Colonia of Alamitos, one known drug trafficker name Jorge Aaron Samanduras Hernandez, 24 years old was arrested in possession of $110,000, 9 pistols, and 297 pistol magazines.
  • April 30 - Baja California's State Preventive Police (PEP) arrested 5 individual's that are link to the Sinaloa Cartel, after raiding a tire garage in Mexicali. Close to a ton of marijuana, 1 grenade launcher, 1 M2 Browning machine gun, various machine guns and rifle magazines were also seized during the operation.
  • June 8 - Mexican army troops arrested two Arellano Felix cartel members in the municipality of Comondú. Inés Zamudio Beltrán & Obed Güereña Arvizu are assumed to be Tijuana Cartel lieutenants of that municipality. Ines Zamudio Beltran is said to have links to the family of the municipality's Mayor Joel Villegas Ibarra.[24] He was freed a month later.












On July 13, 2023, a nearly 20 year investigation against dozens of Tijuana Cartel defendants concluded when former cartel hitman Juan Francisco Sillas Rocha pled guilty to three charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, in a U.S. federal court in Fargo, North Dakota.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "El Universal - - Casi mil efectivos refuerzan seguridad en Tijuana". 23 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c El Universal Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, Pone Gobierno federal en marcha Operativo Tijuana, January 2, 2007.
  3. ^ Frontera, Reorientarán Operativo Tijuana, May 3, 2007.
  4. ^ Office of the President, January 2, 2007.
  5. ^ Zeta, Siguen más, #1723, April 2007.
  6. ^ Zeta, Los dejaron ir, #1725, Abril 2007.
  7. ^ El Universal, Mueren dos personas en tiroteo en hospital de Tijuana, April 18, 2007.
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS - Americas - Headless bodies found in Mexico". 27 August 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  9. ^ "BBC NEWS - Americas - Police disarmed in Mexican town". 29 December 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  10. ^ Frontera, Aumentan con operativo 40% los delitos menores, May 7, 2007.
  11. ^ Univision.com Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine, January 29, 2007.
  12. ^ Zeta, "Empty-handed", #1714, February 2007.
  13. ^ Zeta, BC bajo riesgo, #1724, April 2007
  14. ^ Frontera, Pide Calderón tiempo a los tijuanenses, May 4, 2007.
  15. ^ "Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional - Inicio". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  16. ^ "BBC NEWS - Americas - Mexico drug gang clashes kill 15". 27 April 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional - Inicio". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  18. ^ "BBC NEWS - Americas - Mexico seizes top drugs suspect". 27 October 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  19. ^ "El Universal - - Refuerzan seguridad en Tijuana con 300 marinos". 22 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Alleged chief of violent Mexican cartel captured - Yahoo! News". news.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010.
  21. ^ "El Universal - - Detiene Polica Federal a El Teo en BCS". 18 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  22. ^ "El Universal - - Trasladan a El Teo a la ciudad de Mexico". 22 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  23. ^ "El Universal - - Polica captura a clula de El Chapo en BC". 24 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  24. ^ "El Universal - - Caen dos operadores de Arellano Flix en BCS". 20 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  25. ^ Valley Central News[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Cae en Tijuana "El Chapito", operador de los Arellano Félix". Proceso. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  27. ^ "Latino". Fox News. 19 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Alleged Mexican drug cartel hitman pleads guilty to charges". Associated Press. 13 July 2023. Retrieved 20 July 2023.