(NewsNation) — The mayor of the Mexican border town of Tijuana now travels with a security detail and lives in military barracks after receiving escalating death threats from cartels that control the area.
Tijuana is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Last year, it registered more than 2,000 homicides, as drug cartels fought over control of human smuggling and drug trafficking territory. However, Mayor Montserrat Caballero Ramírez tells NewsNation things are starting to get better.
“My administration took over when Tijuana was No. 1 globally in violence. Today, we are No. 5. It is not resolved yet, but from 1 to 5 is progress. We are going there step by step. Nationally, we have the police that have decommissioned the most guns. We have close to 2,000 firearms that we have taken away from organized crime, and with only 1,700 officers,” Ramirez said.
“1,700 cops have stopped 2,000 people with a gun in their hands. We have stopped 60 homicides in progress. What does this mean? We stopped them as they were killing the person. These results have led us to no longer be at No. 1. We are now in 5. It is not honorable, but we are making progress,” she added.
Ramirez says she has received death threats from cartels due to her administration’s aggressive approach to taking weapons off the street and stemming the homicide rate.
“These 2,000 guns belonged to cartels. The many homicides I stopped were from different cartels. Which ones? I do not know. That is why I am threatened. The threats toward me are because of my results. It is hard to work like this because I live in military barracks, but I keep going to work because it is an important commitment with society,” Ramirez said.
This week, a cartel member in a skull mask reportedly led six teenagers to their deaths in the state of Zacatecas in central Mexico, the youngest being 14, the Daily Mail reported. The group was led barefoot with their hands tied and black hoods over their faces. A video was sent to their parents, but their bodies weren’t found until days later.
Also this week, Mexican authorities had to send troops and helicopters into remote towns near the Guatemala border after cartels blocked roads and cut electricity to some areas.
Mexico’s president says the cartels are fighting for control of valuable “drug smuggling routes” that go from Central America to Mexico.
Meanwhile, illegal crossings into the U.S. are reaching record levels, with cartels wielding full control over smuggling and trafficking operations at the border. U.S. Border Patrol agents are now seeing thousands of illegal migrant crossings every day.
Border Patrol recently announced that agents arrested three dangerous felons on the southern border, including a member of the Sinaloa Cartel and a convicted murderer.