Tijuana, Mexico Illegal Casino Fire Suspected to be Caused by Firebomb

Posted on: November 24, 2023, 06:49h. 

Last updated on: November 24, 2023, 10:31h.

Illegal casinos are common everywhere – Mexico’s no exception, and its plans to ban slot machines at licensed casinos could lead to more problems. Underground casinos in the country routinely become crime scenes, including one that is now the center of a firebombing and homicide investigation.

Mexican police investigate the scene of an attack on an illegal casino
Mexican police investigate the scene of an attack on an illegal casino. The attack claimed the lives of two people and left a third badly burned. (Image: El Mexicano)

The incident unfolded in the tourist area of Tijuana, Baja California, which is exceptionally susceptible to violence. A nondescript commercial establishment, suspected of operating as an illegal casino, became the epicenter of a fire on the afternoon of November 22.

The calamity resulted in the loss of two lives, while another individual suffered severe injuries. The site, situated at the intersection of Pacífico Avenue and Granizo Street in Playas de Tijuana, was blanketed by firefighters who successfully brought the blaze under control.

No Leads, No Evidence

Within the charred remains of the premises, two lifeless bodies were discovered, though their identities remain unknown. Eyewitness accounts suggested that the tragedy might have been triggered by two individuals on a motorcycle, who purportedly hurled a Molotov cocktail at the building before hastily fleeing the scene.


That’s the only clue the authorities have to go on. The motorcycle passed by the structure and reportedly threw something at it before fleeing. Moments later, the building turned into a fireball.

The State Prosecutor’s Office has launched an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the fire. However, so far, investigators have no leads, no suspects, and no additional information. They don’t know if it was a targeted hit against one of the individuals inside the property, or against the property itself.

Tijuana’s Troubles Continue

Tijuana has continuously grappled with a complex and challenging criminal situation, marked by factors such as drug trafficking, organized crime, and violence. Situated along the US-Mexico border, the city has often been a focal point for illicit activities because of its strategic location and economic significance.

Drug cartels, in particular, have played a significant role in shaping the criminal landscape of the city. This has led to territorial disputes that have often resulted in spikes in violence.

The city’s proximity to the lucrative drug market in the U.S. has made it a hotspot for trafficking operations. Competition among rival cartels, such as the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels, has resulted in power struggles and violent confrontations.

Additionally, Tijuana has faced issues related to organized crime involvement in activities like extortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking. These criminal elements often exploit the vulnerabilities in the region, contributing to a climate of fear and insecurity among the local population.