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Stories by Bob McPhail

Baja bullfighting ban back-burnered

Legislature decides not to consider anti-cruelty bill

Opponents of bullfighting in Baja California waited for hours on Thursday, April 7, expecting the state legislature to debate and vote on a proposed law that would have outlawed the bloody spectacle, but at the ...

Tijuana amusement park shut down

After ride collapses, teenage girl in custody

By order of the Tijuana Fire Department, the long-popular amusement park Mundo Divertido was closed following a Tuesday evening, April 5, accident in which a ride collapsed and injured at least 12 people, including seven ...

Arson attack at U.S. consulate in Tijuana

"Could be a resentful person" upset over having had a visa denied

An arsonist doused several vehicles parked at the U.S. consulate in Tijuana with gasoline during the early-morning hours of New Year's day and set them on fire, according to multiple press reports. The vehicles — ...

Warning registered on road's instability

Repaired Ensenada highway at risk of collapse, says geologist

Baja California's scenic toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada is at risk of another major collapse similar to or worse than one that occurred on December 28, 2013, a scientific expert has warned. Luis Alberto ...

Tijuana businesses under siege

Robberies and related killings spur security-bar industry

A wave of armed robberies has swept across Tijuana in the past year, claiming the lives of six small-businesses owners and forcing many neighborhood shops to install security bars through which transactions with customers are ...

Shot on a motorcycle in Tijuana

Police on edge after casualties within the ranks

A young motorcyclist suffered a bullet wound to his leg on Saturday, November 28, when a Tijuana police officer mistakenly opened fire, according to a report in El Sol de Tijuana. According to the newspaper, ...

She hailed a cab, they hailed the rocks

Tijuana taxi incident results in injuries and burning car

Drivers of yellow taxis situated near the international border in Tijuana attacked the driver of a competing taxi libre on Tuesday, October 27, then set his cab ablaze, according to an account published by El ...

Tijuana sex-promotion project goes limp

City officials back off from notion after public criticism

Anaheim has Disneyland. Las Vegas has casinos. And Tijuana has, well, prostitutes. Red-faced city officials are back-pedaling ferociously after a high-ranking functionary suggested in a recent television interview that Tijuana should promote sex-for-sale as a ...

Boy hitman in Tijuana

Alleged killer is 14 years old

A Tijuana youth who allegedly responded to a solicitation on Facebook seeking a gunman for hire has been arrested on murder charges. Local news media are referring to the 14-year-old suspect as “the boy hitman” ...

Robber gets money, deodorant, condoms

Tijuana convenience-store holdup suggests ulterior motive

A thief who held up a Tijuana convenience store in the wee hours of Sunday, October 4th, got ahold of cash and merchandise, including four packs of condoms. Tijuana’s daily El Mexicano reported on October ...

Tijuana doctors speak up for pedestrian victims

At least two people a day are struck by motor vehicles

As many as 30 pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles in Tijuana each week — and few of them survive, a recent report issued by health authorities revealed. The report, in the form of a ...

Mexico on $4.27 a day

Minimum wage rises by 18 cents, daily rate becomes the same nationally

Beginning today, October 1st, workers across Mexico will see a three-peso hike in the minimum wage — the equivalent of about 18 cents in U.S. dollars. The increase will bring the minimum wage to 70.10 ...

Baja's/Tijuana's mortgage crisis

Hundreds of thousands of abandoned homes called a "social tragedy"

An estimated 362,000 homes in Baja California have been abandoned by their owners and another 60,000 are at risk of abandonment, according to the national director of El Barzón, a Mexico nonprofit founded to assist ...

Gunman opens fire outside Tijuana funeral home

Police say drug-dealing motorcycle club members to blame

An AK-47-wielding gunman opened fire outside a Tijuana funeral home minutes before midnight on Tuesday, August 25, killing two and injuring seven others. Mourners had gathered at La Esperanza funeral home on Avenida Negrete at ...

295 homicides in first six months this year in Tijuana

"The numbers have to go down."

Compared to the same period last year, homicides in Tijuana have increased by 19 percent, according to a citizen's group. From January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015, there were 295 homicides in the city, ...

Tick-borne illness spreads to TJ

Cut the grass, scrub the dog, this could be deadly

A second case of rickettsiosis, a potentially fatal tick-borne bacterial illness, has been reported in Tijuana, state health officials announced on Wednesday, July 15. Earlier reports of the disease had been confined mostly to Mexicali, ...

Whatfer over wet fur leads to fisticuffs

Four Tijuana residents arrested after hose-down of family cat

An argument over a wet cat turned into a brawl that ended with the arrest of four people in Tijuana last week. Neighbors called police to Colonia Villas de Alcázar at around 11 a.m. on ...

Dog days of bummer

Duo in Tijuana post torture video on Facebook

Tijuana police have arrested two men who allegedly videotaped their torture of a dog and posted it on Facebook. The video, which appeared on Facebook over the weekend, led to widespread expressions of outrage among ...

The price of gringas is about to rise

Add a 16% sales tax to Mexican fast food beginning July 1

Beginning tomorrow, July 1, consumers across Mexico will begin paying a 16 percent sales tax on ready-to-eat food, the kind typically purchased in convenience stores. Critics say the new tax will be a financial burden ...

Operation Methabunga bungled

Seriously, dude: they found a remote-controlled meth-stuffed surfboard

Residents of the Costa Azul neighborhood of Playas de Tijuana last week led police to a surfboard that had washed up on the beach; it had been hollowed out and stuffed with packets of crystal ...

Drugs-porn-brothel internet café shut down

Citizens tip off authorities to bust center of perversion

Acting on an anonymous tip, Tijuana police busted a downtown internet café over the weekend (June 6) that allegedly was being used as a brothel, a shooting gallery for drug addicts, and a place where ...

Hundreds spared, four kids hit

Victims of Baja 500 accident likely to be okay

Four children were among eight spectators injured on Saturday morning, June 6, at the outset of the 47th running of the Baja 500 off-road race in Ensenada, according to multiple press accounts. The onlookers were ...

For whom the tolls rankle

Playas de Tijuana residents say they have paid for the cost of the road

About 30 residents of Playas de Tijuana, holding placards and passing out pamphlets to motorists, gathered at around 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 30, at the entrance of the toll road to Ensenada. They assembled ...

Suicidal babies

Innumerable crab spawn beach themselves in Baja

Thousands of baby pelagic red crabs have washed up on the beaches of Playas de Tijuana, the latest in a series of odd occurrences along the shores of Baja California that have left marine biologists ...

Teens with knives steal snacks

Cookies, chips, and cash among the haul, with which they were arrested

Two knife-wielding teens robbed a small neighborhood grocer in the Anexa Niños Heroes neighborhood, getting away with eight bags of potato chips, two packages of cookies, and 450 pesos in cash (about $30), Tijuana's daily ...

Rain or pipe leak creates Tijuana disaster

Nearly two dozen homes give way to saturated earth

Nineteen families were left homeless over the weekend following a series of landslides in the Anexa Miramar neighborhood of Tijuana, with more mandatory evacuations expected. Initial press accounts on Saturday, May 16, reported a dozen ...

Teachers' strike holds strong in Baja

Lack of pension payouts the big issue

My eight-year-old godson in Tijuana has been sending me various versions of sad emoticons on Facebook for more than a week now. He is unhappy because, after a lengthy Easter vacation, school did not resume ...

Baby whale bites dust

Mexican environmental authorities recently buried a juvenile gray whale that died after becoming trapped on the shoreline near the border of Playas de Tijuana and Rosarito Beach. The young whale, about 42 feet long and ...

All was not well in Lo Yen City

Chinese restaurant meat secret so horrific you should skip this story

Four employees and the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Tijuana were arrested on April 7 after food inspectors discovered the eatery was butchering and cooking dog meat. Authorities launched an investigation of the Lo ...

Forget Tijuana if you need an organ transplant

Doctor speaks out about wasted body parts of the deceased

Dozens of Tijuanans in need of organ transplants have died needlessly because public health officials have failed to maintain organ-donor programs at government hospitals and clinics, the president of the Association of Transplants and Renal ...

No meat, no bullfights, no zonkeys

Animal-rights activists launch another protest in Tijuana

Animal-rights activists took to the streets of downtown Tijuana again on Saturday, January 31, in their most recent protest against what they say is the maltreatment of the city's iconic zonkeys — donkeys painted to ...

Vaya con Dios, Miguelito

"Quiero jugar fútbol” were among little boy's last words

For 16 days, seven-year-old Miguel Beltrán battled for his life from a bed in Tijuana General Hospital, the victim of a crime so horrendous that it shocked even the most battle-hardened residents of this violence-prone ...

Baja losing U.S.-born tourists

More than half of 2014 visitors were Latino

During 2014, Baja California tourism struggled to recover from multiple setbacks but was buoyed by visitors of Mexican-American descent, according to a year-end report by the state secretary of tourism. During 2014, 52 percent of ...

Holiday muggings fill TJ emergency room

Most of the victims are “men of productive age,” according to El Mexicano

The number of emergency-room visits by patients who said they had been mugged increased by nearly 400 percent during the Christmas holidays at Tijuana General Hospital, according to a doctor who works there. In an ...

Post-coital knife attack

Prostitute's screams awaken guests at Tijuana hotel

A Tijuana prostitute who ridiculed the sexual performance of a client found herself fighting for her life when the angry man pulled a four-inch knife from his pocket and began attacking her. The unidentified woman's ...

Unidentified corpses pile up in Baja

Website set up for unclaimed bodies — 1132 in 18 months

Between 2013 and June of this year, Baja California medical examiners have been unable to identify more than 1100 cadavers presented to them for autopsy. Most of the unclaimed bodies have been buried in unmarked ...

Pay up, gringo!

New entry fee imposed to enter Mexico

Beginning on November 1, U.S. citizens planning to stay for more than seven days in Mexico must pay a $23.50 entry fee if crossing at the Otay Mesa port of entry, according to multiple accounts ...

Attention: pederasts, terrorists, and murderers

Baja is not a good hideout for fugitives anymore

Since January 1, 159 fugitives have been caught in Baja by a specially trained unit of the Policía Estatal Preventiva, breaking the previous record of 112 set in 2012, the Tijuana daily El Mexicano reported ...

Because the governor wouldn't need the Red Cross

Tijuana healthcare provider lays off employees, gasoline bill looms

Tijuana's Red Cross, which operates a "pay if you're able" trauma center/hospital and a citywide fleet of ambulances, has laid off 16 employees in an attempt to survive a major financial crisis. A cutoff in ...

Cuffed prisoner steals new cop car in Tijuana

They got their cruiser back but not the suspect

Red-faced detectives from the Policía Ministerial del Estado launched a massive police operation in Tijuana shortly after noon on Friday, October 10, when they apparently left a prisoner in their custody unattended and he drove ...

Grandmother caught between cops and robbers

Woman accidentally run down and killed by police truck in Tijuana

Tijuana police pursuing robbery suspects in a marked pickup ran over and killed a grandmother on Wednesday, September 17, as she attempted to cross a Zona Norte street to buy some midday birria. María Elena ...

TJ's a tough place to own a small business

Rude authorities, 75% chance of being robbed...

At least 75 percent of Tijuana's small businesses have been victimized by armed robbers, according to the head of a trade group. And what's worse, said Heriberto Villalobos Rentería, president of a national small-business organization ...

Tijuana gets help from federal cops

Surge in violence warrants presidential dispatch of 400 officers

Members of a newly created and specially trained federal police force began arriving in Tijuana last week to help local officers combat a growing wave of violent crime. According to press reports, about 100 members ...

Alarm among Americans

Elderly U.S. ex-pat killed in her Rosarito Beach home

Baja California authorities are searching for the caretakers of an elderly American woman found dead and stuffed into the refrigerator of her Rosarito Beach home earlier this week. Rosarito police said a friend of the ...

Our Lady of Guadalupe delivered meth

Paintings concealed drug deals at San Ysidro border crossing

Tijuana police say an anonymous tip led them to search merchandise at a roadside curio shop at the San Ysidro border crossing on August 26, where they discovered individual doses of heroin or methamphetamine hidden ...

Taxation on top of salvation

Tijuana's archbishop speaks out against government's demand for "profits"

In unusually combative language, the archbishop of Tijuana has accused Mexico's federal government of extorting money from the Catholic Church under the guise of taxation. In an interview published August 25 by the daily newspaper ...

Trash-pile baby rescued in Tijuana

Only hours old — umbilical cord still attached

Tijuana police on Sunday, August 24, rescued a newborn baby discarded in a pile of trash in Colonia Rojo Gómez, a neighborhood in the far eastern area of the city. Police were alerted to the ...

Homicides down in Tijuana, up in Rosarito

Some say actual crime figures suppressed for political reasons

Homicides dropped 10 percent in Tijuana but the number of kidnappings skyrocketed by 60 percent, while in Rosarito Beach there were no kidnappings but murders jumped by 40 percent, according to crime statistics just released ...

Pope Francis in TJ?

Tijuana among top three candidate cities for a visit next year

According to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Mexico during a meeting between the two at the Vatican last month. Since the June 7 meeting, Tijuana has turned up ...

El sexo peligroso

Over two dozen Tijuana prostitutes busted without health cards

Tijuana authorities recently detained around 30 prostitutes for failure to have current health cards in an ongoing citywide crackdown on violators of a variety of municipal laws. “We’ve had an intense operation dealing with sex ...

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