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Stories by Bob McPhail

State Department’s recent travel advisory rankles Tijuana mayor

Deported Mexican prisoners from U.S. blamed for crime uptick

The U.S. State Department has just issued its most recent advisory for U.S. citizens contemplating travel to Baja California, prompting an angry response from Tijuana mayor Carlos Bustamante. The advisory, issued on Friday, July 12, ...

Vote recount in Baja elections changes nothing

Dominant PRI and PAN parties to share power

Despite initial claims to the contrary, it appears Baja California's July 7 elections were fair and clean — and the final vote tally seems to prove it. Over the weekend, Fernando Castro Trenti, the candidate ...

Tijuana plastic-surgery doctors tighten up image

Complications result from 20% of surgeries

In an attempt to bolster public confidence in the practice of plastic surgery in Baja California, the state's secretary of health has published a list of certified plastic surgeons on its official website, saludbc.gob.mx. The ...

San Quintín, Baja’s newest city

June 28 vote seals deal

San Quintín, a bucolic beachfront community about 185 miles south of the international border, will apparently become Baja California's sixth officially recognized municipality. By a 23-0 vote on June 28, the state legislature approved a ...

Tijuana orphanages close, children hit streets

Insufficient help from government

More children are being abandoned on the streets of Tijuana to fend for themselves because nearly half the city's orphanages have closed during the past few years, according to the director of an orphanage specializing ...

False report of gunfire at Tijuana kindergarten

Trampled child loses eye during panic

Several youngsters were injured — one seriously enough to require hospitalization — when false reports of imminent gunfire outside a Tijuana kindergarten caused parents, teachers, and children to run for cover. The incident occurred at ...

Cockfight operation shut down in Tijuana

Against the law with no government permit

Tijuana police arrested 15 people and seized 15 roosters after raiding a clandestine cockfighting ring in the city's Niño Artillero neighborhood. According to accounts in several Tijuana newspapers, officers were summoned to the scene around ...

Tijuana Bike Fest welcomed by Baja tourism secretary

Three days of rumbling at the bullring

As many as 8000 motorcyclists are expected to converge this weekend at the Plaza Monumental bullring in Playas de Tijuana for the third Tijuana Bike Fest. The three-day event is scheduled to get under way ...

Tijuana trucking disasters facilitated by residents

Land and sand co-opted out of necessity

Residents of a modest Tijuana neighborhood are as much to blame as the out-of-control tractor-trailer trucks that have repeatedly damaged or destroyed homes, wrecked cars, and claimed at least one life during the past two ...

Extreme poverty on the increase in Tijuana

Cardboard houses, one meal a day

Growing unemployment, persistent under-employment, and a steady influx of deportations from the U.S. have left the Catholic Church in Tijuana hard-pressed to meet the needs of the poor who turn to it for help, according ...

Tijuana busload of student passengers robbed at gunpoint

People trembling with fear

Three armed thieves boarded a Tijuana city bus bound for an outlying campus of the Autonomous University of Baja California on Tuesday, May 21, and robbed about 50 terrified passengers, most of them students. The ...

Bootleggers busted making bucks off Mexican Olympics

Selling items from truck with suspect documentation

Late last month, Tijuana hoteliers and restaurateurs were celebrating a respite from generally bleak economic circumstances when the Mexican National Olympics got under way in Baja California. Authorities estimated that hotel occupancy would reach 90 ...

Robbery suspect caught for Tijuana police

Perpetrator becomes victim

Angry business owners came to the rescue of the victims of a robbery in downtown Tijuana on May 15, pummeling an alleged thief on the face and head and holding him down until police arrived. ...

Tijuana curio shops struggle to stay in business

Movement to stock “higher quality” products

The once-booming curio business on Tijuana's Avenida Revolución has dwindled to a trickle as the tastes of tourists who still visit what was once known as "the most traveled avenue in the world" have shifted, ...

Churro vendor calls the law on Tijuana policeman

A stop is put to cop’s extortion racket

Tijuana police have arrested one of their own for allegedly extorting money from a woman trying to make a living by selling churros on a well-traveled public sidewalk in the eastern part of the city, ...

Explosions and fire erupt at Tijuana warehouse

No injuries in maquiladora neighborhood

A fire at a Tijuana warehouse for industrial wastes set off several small explosions and led to the evacuation of several nearby maquiladoras and a day-care center for factory workers on the afternoon of April ...

A different sort of Tijuana kidnapping

Prevented at victim’s peril?

Three Tijuana men have landed in jail on suspicion of kidnapping after they allegedly bound the hands and feet of a would-be patient and held him down in the back of a pickup en route ...

Mexican public servants watch porn on the job

Computer filters yet to be implemented

More than a third of government workers in Baja California are using their office computers to access pornography while at work, the Tijuana daily El Mexicano reports. Citing a study conducted in the Mexican state ...

Battery thieves caught in downtown Tijuana

Jeep and taxi used.

About a year ago, a good friend in Tijuana took his two young sons to a taco stand for a mid-morning meal. When he returned to his mini-van about 15 minutes later, he discovered that ...

Wallet stolen during Zona Norte tryst

American has second thoughts when faced with young teens

An American in search of some pay-for-play sex in Tijuana on Good Friday inadvertently led police to a man pimping out teenaged girls after the American's wallet was stolen by a 13-year-old prostitute. In a ...

Stolen gasoline sold from vacant lot

An anonymous tip from a caller fearing an "explosion with catastrophic consequences" led to the arrest of four men in Tijuana for allegedly storing stolen gasoline in a residential neighborhood and selling it on nearby ...

Baja California economy suffers for lack of northern visitors

Border waits partly to blame

Baja California residents spend three times more money in the U.S. than do Americans visiting south of the border, according to Armando Rogelio Lara Valle, the director of Baja California's planning and development committee. According ...

Rogue plumber caught in the act in Tijuana

Allegedly stealing meters and pipes

A man allegedly posing as an employee of the state water agency was arrested in Tijuana on Sunday, March 17, after one of his victims noted water spewing from a meter in front of his ...

Sheriff’s department patrols Encinitas for alcohol violators

Three hours into St. Paddy’s Day, 19 arrested

Sheriff's deputies and state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents arrested 19 people in a weekend crackdown in Encinitas. In a news release issued at 4 a.m. on Sunday, March 17, the sheriff's department said it had ...

Electrical outage affects 150,000 Baja residents

Suspected equipment thief found dead

A bizarre crime that claimed the life of an unidentified man who was apparently trying to steal electrical equipment from transmission towers east of Tijuana left the 65,000 residents of Tecate without power for more ...

Alleged wig-wearing thief captured in Tijuana

Brian accessorized, say police

Tijuana police say they arrested a man who allegedly disguised himself as a woman to steal from various businesses in the San Antonio de Los Buenos neighborhood. Officers captured 27-year-old Brian Roldán Cedillo at around ...

Bribery crackdown continues in Tijuana

Record amount of prosecutions

The longtime practice of offering Tijuana cops a little cash to buy your way out of a legal jam could now land you in jail. In a March 2 press release, the city's Department of ...

Tijuana resident finds magnetized pot parcels under car

Would have been fifth “blind mule” this year

The fifth case so far this year of a so-called "blind mule" was discovered on Thursday, February 28, in the Xicoténcatl Leyva Mortera neighborhood of Tijuana, police said in a press release. The term "blind ...

Brooms and rocks don’t settle squabble in Tijuana

Arrests made following non-payment for tortillas

A neighborhood brawl erupted Saturday, February 23, in Tijuana's Villas del Campo neighborhood after a woman swatted a child with a broom, leading to the arrest of five people. The affray began in the afternoon, ...

Would-be pimp slapped down by Tijuana police

Prostitutes threatened with violence

Police officers chased down and arrested a man on a downtown Tijuana street on Monday, February 18, after a young prostitute told them a customer had beaten and robbed her at a nearby hotel. In ...

Tijuana police catch thief — the alleged victim did it

Bank-deposit holdup never happened

Tijuana's network of downtown police cameras proved to be the downfall for a 21-year-old woman and her male accomplice after she reported she had been robbed at knifepoint outside a downtown bank while trying to ...

Alleged bus thief run over by bus in Tijuana

Driver pistol-whipped, leads to crash

Minutes after pistol-whipping a bus driver unconscious, an alleged thief was run over by the same bus he had just robbed in the Nueva Tijuana neighborhood of the city, the Tijuana daily Frontera reports. The ...

The Disobedient Father

A renegade priest who has refused to give up his Rosarito Beach parish says he has filed a criminal complaint of robbery against the archbishop of Tijuana, the Tijuana daily Frontera reports. Father Raymundo Figueroa ...

The Last Trick

Authorities have arrested three Tijuana teenagers for allegedly killing a man who refused to pay a prostitute for services, the Baja California attorney general said in a statement issued on Tuesday, October 6. Sulivan Ibarra ...

Killed for Dollars

As 18-year-old José de Jesús Lamas Herrera walked along Virgo Street on June 28 in Tijuana’s Colonia Reacomodo Sánchez Taboada, someone walked up to him, pulled out a pistol, and shot him dead. Authorities now ...

Tow Yard Tussle

A Tijuana man ended up in police custody after he allegedly went to a towing company’s impound yard on Tuesday night, September 29, and forcibly reclaimed his cherry-colored Ford. Employees of Zabad Towing said the ...

No Nonsense Padre

A priest and a sacristan fought off and subdued a would-be robber at María Madre de la Iglesia parish in Tijuana’s Colonia Jardines del Rubí neighborhood on Wednesday night, September 30, according to a municipal ...

Porn Peddler in the Parque

An alleged sex offender on the lam from California since 2007 was captured by Baja California state police early Wednesday morning, September 30, in front of Parque de la Amistad in Tijuana’s Mesa de Otay ...

Cabs vs. Coach

After more than 30 years, the Mexicoach shuttle bus to and from downtown Tijuana to San Ysidro is threatening to end service to the international border because Yellow Cab drivers in Tijuana are allegedly vandalizing ...

Home Is Where Cheap Rent Is

“The loss of employment in the United States and the impossibility of paying rents over a thousand dollars a month has prompted many families to change their residence to Tijuana, where they can pay rents ...

Gangsta Zone

At least six clubs have shuttered their doors in recent months because of Tijuana’s waning tourism business. But, according to daily newspaper El Sol de Tijuana, those bars haven’t stopped doing business. Jack Doron, president ...

Salad a Casualty

Tijuana’s Caesar's Restaurant on Avenida Revolución, reputed to be the spot where Caesar salad was invented, has closed its doors after more than 80 years in business. The Tijuana daily Frontera reported that the restaurant ...

Not an Accident

A 64-year-old grandmother is behind bars in Tijuana, accused of killing her 1-year-old granddaughter in a fit of rage by throwing the toddler down a staircase, causing fatal brain damage. According to a statement issued ...

Dog Days of Doom

Tijuana’s municipal health department has begun a citywide operation to hunt down, capture, and kill dogs found running loose on the streets in an effort to stem an outbreak of illnesses caused by the tick-borne ...

Cheap Life

A 17-year-old Tijuana boy faces up to 50 years in prison after his May 13 arrest for the alleged murder of a man who refused to lend the teen five pesos — about 38 cents. ...

Kids Shot

The number of Tijuana minors being treated for gunshot wounds -- some children as young as two years old -- has increased about 50 percent in the past few months. In interviews with two Tijuana ...

¡Choque!

Tijuana police arrested a woman on Thursday, April 9, who they say was involved in three car crashes over a distance of less than a mile. Officers remain puzzled as to why the accidents occurred. ...

Imperfect Crime

Last Saturday night, April 4, a knife-wielding teenager trying to rob a video-rental store in Tijuana’s Buena Vista neighborhood looked familiar to the store’s owner. And for good reason: the same young man had returned ...

Fistful of Pesos

Tijuana police arrested four medical students from the Autonomous University of Baja California on the afternoon of Friday, March 27, for allegedly stealing money they were supposed to be collecting for the Mexican Red Cross. ...

Saint Death Gets Plowed

Sometime during the early morning hours of Saturday, March 21, someone using an earth-moving machine plowed under a chapel to La Santa Muerte (Holy Death), the “patron saint” of a strange religious cult popular with ...

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