Slain Tijuana Police Chief Remembered

TIJUANA, Feb 29, (AP) — Thousands of police officers from across northwestern Mexico packed into a funeral home early today to mourn and honor the popular Tijuana police chief who died in a barrage of bullets fired by assailants believed linked to organized crime.

Under Mexican tradition, the wake was to last into this afternoon, when the chief’s funeral was planned.

Enrique Tellaeche, spokesman for the Baja California state attorney general’s office, said the killing was “obviously linked to organized crime,” but said it was too early to tell whether it was connected to the Tijuana-based drug organization led by the Arrellano-Felix brothers, which is notorious for its gangland-style hits.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers the organization one of the most powerful and violent drug trafficking groups. One of the brothers, Ramon Eduardo, is on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list.

“The only motive for the killing is his job,” said Jaime Valencia, a police forensics supervisor who, like all his colleagues, wore a black band over his badge. “A person who does his job well goes against the interests of the bad guys.”

Baja California is one of Mexico’s most violent states, and Tijuana is one of the most violent cities. It recorded 300 murders last year and the pace of killings has picked up this year.

About 55 percent of the cocaine used in the United States is shipped through Mexico or Mexican waters, according to U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey.

Mexicans say they are suffering from drug violence, especially on the border, largely because the United States has done little to reduce its consumption of illegal drugs.

 Source: Associated Press

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