Mexican authorities are hopeful that the January 12 capture of Teodoro Garcia Simental (“El Teo”) will lead to the cessation of the gangland-style murders and kidnappings in TJ, Rosarito, and Ensenada. Garcia was considered heir apparent to the Arellano cartel in Baja (although his supremacy was in dispute).
The long-sought kingpin was captured by a tactical squad of law-enforcement officials who converged on Garcia’s hideout in a luxurious gated community in La Paz in Baja del Sur. Some 50 police arrived in two helicopters and four buses to begin the assault on the apartment, breaking in the door after surrounding the area.
After capturing the capo, authorities confiscated an assault rifle, a 9mm pistol, two laptops, 20 cell phones, thousands in pesos, and a hundred dollars. Garcia was whisked off to Mexico City, where he was prominently displayed as public enemy number one.
Garcia is believed responsible for ordering over 1000 executions of rivals, interlopers, and cops during his one-year reign. He’s accused of threatening prominent law enforcement officials; for multiple kidnappings; and was notorious for hiring a man who dissolved corpses in barrels of acid for 600 bucks a week.
As to whether Garcia’s capture will bring peace and confidence to the suffering city, Victor Clark Alfaro, a social anthropologist quoted in Frontera, believes that the cartels will be quick in adapting to the new conditions within the underworld and that a brief lull in the violence and mayhem — which is off at a record clip in TJ so far this year — is the most that can be expected.
Sources: Frontera, El Mexicano, La Segunda, El Sol de Tijuana