“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

The tragedy at a rally in Ensenada, Baja California has new protagonists, although it’s still the same war. They are the Arzate brothers, who live in Tijuana and seek to take over the Arellano Felix’s territory. Bibiana Belsasso and Jorge Fernández Menéndez show us that in politics and power, everything, but absolutely everything is personal.

Video translation is as follows:

History always repeats itself. Well, it never ends. This story 30 years later is still alive. The massacre this weekend in Ensenada, California where 10 people were killed at a racing rally was part of a war that never ended between the Arellano Felix brothers and the Sinaloa Cartel.

What changes in part are the protagonists. And now other brothers appear in that part of Tijuana who want to occupy the Arellano’s spot, the Arzate brothers. This is the story.

This is Alfonso Arzate Garcia aka El Aquiles and his brother Rene known as La Rana. Both are accused of being behind the attack that took place on Saturday, May 20 at a racing rally in Ensenada, Baja California. In that aggression, hired killers shot at point blank range at one of the vehicles that were competing.  

This attack left 10 dead and 9 wounded. The main target was Alonso Arámbula Piña aka El Trébol, a lieutenant for the Arellano Felix family who bragged about his luxuries on social networks. The weekly Zeta news portal has documented what is happening in the state and the advancement of the Arzate brothers.

Since 2019, they have been disputing Tijuana with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. A group that even joined the Arellano Felix to control the plaza. In 2019, El Aquiles and La Rana maintained an important alliance with Ismael El Mayo Zambada.

This is because Tijuana is one of the most important points for the Sinaloa Cartel in the transfer of drugs to the United States. That is why El Mayo gave protection to the brothers. And their alliance was strengthened following the life sentence of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman.

The brothers traveled constantly to Culiacán, Sinaloa. But a year later the relationship broke down. In 2020, the Arzate brothers were snubbed by El Mayo after causing internal confrontations between the different armed branches of the Sinaloa Cartel. This was documented by the weekly Zeta news portal.

The brothers had even been warned about Zambada’s strategy of having allies in other entities and not plaza bosses. Something the Arzate brothers did not accept. The most evident rupture occurred when Mexican and U.S. authorities seized a shipment of 3 tons of marijuana and various quantities of crystal meth, fentanyl, and cocaine in a narco-tunnel with a value of more than 10 million dollars.

Gunmen for El Mayo blamed the Arzate brothers, whom they also accused of being behind other operations against the Sinaloa Cartel. After these events, Alfonso and Rene fled to Mazatlan, Sinaloa. But in 2019, they returned to Tijuana to dispute the plaza with El Mayo’s faction. According to reports, they stay in luxury resorts and sporadically visit Ensenada. The territory they consider to be the safest.  

The Arzates have sought to form alliances with Los Chapitos to keep Tijuana, Ensenada, and Tecate under their command. U.S. and Mexican authorities indicated that within the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Arzate are reportedly making contact with Los Chapitos’ buyers and suppliers. Specifically with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar. In addition, they have also turned to their old acquaintance Pablo Edwin Huerta Nuño aka El Flaquito, an operator of the Arellano Felix family. 

Someone with whom they already made agreements in the past and who now betrayed El Trébol. Meanwhile, the Arzates have had a score to settle with the US justice system since 2014, when the federal court in California issued a warrant for the arrest of Rene and Alfonso Arzate Garcia after they were accused of conspiring to import marijuana.

And a year later the FBI offered a reward of up to about $200,000 for information leading to each of the brothers. The DEA is currently offering rewards of more than $45 million for various drug lords. Among them is Alfonso Arzate, who is linked to El Chapo’s sons.

Well, a crime from 30 years ago. A brutal crime from 30 years ago and a massacre from 3 days ago. And the story, the story of these eternal conflicts that the Mexican state hasn’t been able to reduce. It continues.

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