Tijuana, Mexico Unlicensed Casino Shootout Leaves Two Dead

Posted on: January 30, 2023, 07:26h. 

Last updated on: January 30, 2023, 01:46h.

Patrons of an unlicensed casino in the commercial area of El Soler in Tijuana, Mexico, found themselves in an unpleasant situation last Thursday. They came under attack by a small group of armed men in what police believe was a planned hit by a drug gang.

Mexican police
Mexican police stand guard outside a prison earlier this month following a riot. The latest act of violence includes an attack on a gambling hall that had two fatalities. (Image: France Press Agency)

Minutes before 8:00 p.m. Thursday, at least two men arrived at the casino. They entered the property and indiscriminately opened fire on everyone present.

The attack led to the death of a woman who was at the scene and an elderly man in his 60s. It also left two men seriously injured, although they’re both recovering at a local hospital.

Sending a Message

Three men were found alive after police arrived, but one of them died hours later in a hospital as a result of gunshot wounds. The woman, reportedly around 35 years old, died at the scene. Police haven’t released the names of any of the victims.

The attack brought unwanted attention down on the property and led to the discovery that it was operating as an illegal casino. Police also believe it doubled as a storefront for illegal narcotics and drugs.

Police found at least 14 9-millimeter bullet casings scattered throughout the property from the sidewalk and the entrance, and through an interior corridor. State agents from the intentional homicide group processed the scene and supervised the removal of the body as well as the evidence.

Police report they found a card with a threatening message at the scene. It was likely a warning, and was signed by “Los Arzate.”

The note allegedly threatened two brothers with the name and nickname of “Pedro” and “Puma,” respectively. Police haven’t indicated if they know the real identities of the two.

Los Arzate is a cell of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most vicious in Mexico. It is allegedly responsible for controlling Tijuana for the cartel.

The note also included the acronym “CDS,” which is often a reference to Cártel de Sinaloa, or the Sinaloa Cartel in English. Investigators haven’t corroborated that information.

A Place Worth Avoiding

The events took place in the same building where, in June of last year, there was another armed attack. In that incident, a Haitian man who worked in the place died following a hit.

A fellow worker found Jean Stanley Morency when he arrived to work at the casino on June 11. The young man told police that he found Morency when he entered. The victim was working behind the counter at the time of the attack. When the employee found him, Morency had sustained several injuries and was covered in blood.

Unknown assailants had shot and attacked Morency with at least one firearm and a knife. Upon the arrival of the municipal police, they determined that his murder occurred several hours earlier. At the scene, authorities found shell casings on the spot and a blood-stained knife.

In addition, chairs and other objects in the place were in disarray. The property had a security system, but it was of no help. The assailants had stolen the cameras and recordings, obviously aware of the layout.

The property was a clandestine casino then, just as it was now. It has continued to operate without a license in an area criminal organizations almost exclusively control.