Shootout at Unlicensed Casino in Tijuana, Mexico, Leaves Two Dead

The patrons of an unlicensed casino in the commercial area of the El Soler subdivision of Tijuana, Mexico, found themselves caught up on an unpleasant situation last Wednesday. 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
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 left two fatalities. (Image: France Press Agency)

Minutes before 8:00 Thursday night, 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

On Wednesday night, once the police arrived, the three men were found still alive, but one of them died hours later in a hospital in the city as a result of gunshot wounds. The woman, reportedly around 35 years old, had 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. In addition, they believe it also doubled as a storefront for illegal narcotics and drugs.

From the sidewalk and the entrance of the premises and along the corridor of the entrance, police found at least 14 9-millimeter caliber shells. State agents from the intentional homicide group processed the scene and supervised the removal of the body as well as the evidence.

The police report stated that 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. However, police have not indicted 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 Spanish. However, investigators have not corroborated the information.

A Place Worth Avoiding

The events last Thursday 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, he 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, the 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. However, it has continued to operate without a license in an area criminal organizations almost exclusively control.

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