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Hundreds of Mexican troops arrived in the city of Tijuana on Saturday after more than a dozen vehicles were hijacked and set on fire by gangs amid escalating violence in the region.
About 350 National Guard troops were airlifted to support the thousands of federal troops already in the state of Baja California, Reforma reported. No injuries were reported in the Tijuana diversions that tangled traffic across the city and temporarily blocked access to the busiest border crossing in the United States.
US government workers were ordered late Friday to shelter in place and avoid traveling to the city after reports of an upsurge in violence.
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Hijackings in four other towns in Baja led to the arrest of at least 17 people, according to Milenio TV.
The Jalisco Next Generation Cartel threatened violence against anyone seen on the streets this weekend in northern Baja California.
“Be warned. From Friday 10 p.m. to Sunday 3 a.m., we will create mass chaos so that the [expletive] the government liberates our people. We are the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, we don’t want to hurt the good people but it’s better they don’t come out, we will attack everyone we see on the streets these days,” the group said in a statement. warning translated from Spanish.
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Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero said in a video message to crime gangs that she blamed the hijackings that they weren’t going to force the city to shut down.
“We are not going to allow a single citizen of Tijuana to pay the consequences of those who have not paid their bills,” she said. “We’re asking you to make the people who owe you pay, not the families and working citizens.”
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Caballero said in a separate press briefing that there are about 3,000 federal troops in the state who will assist Tijuana police. She stressed that no civilians had yet been injured.
“The problem is serious, but it’s not that serious,” the mayor said.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.