SAN DIEGO — Cartels that operate in Tijuana have shifted their focus recently, aiming to take control of new enterprises.
In recent years, cartels in Mexico have fought over the drug trade, avocado industry, migrant smuggling and even fishing rights. But now they are wresting for control of strip clubs, brothels and bars in Tijuana’s Zona Norte, also known as the “tolerance zone,” according to sources within the Baja California State Attorney General’s Office.
Punto Norte, a news publication in Baja California, is reporting that the owner of the renowned Hong Kong Gentleman’s Club and hotel, a man with the last name of Brizuela, was the target of an assassination attempt Tuesday night.
Brizuela is also said to be affiliated with other businesses involved with prostitution.
The confrontation was confirmed by Tijuana police, who said gunmen showed up at Brizuela’s house, located in a posh Tijuana neighborhood, and got into a shootout with his bodyguards.
Police say the gun battle resulted in the death of one of the bodyguards and one of the gunmen.
Punto Norte’s investigation goes on to say one of Brizuela’s business partners was assaulted and robbed late last month.
His family reportedly told police that members of Mexico’s National Guard forced their way into the house and went on to steal thousands of dollars in cash, cellphones and other valuables from a safe.
Baja California Attorney General’s Office confirmed the family filed a report about the break-in, but the office refused to release any more information.
A source within that same office told Border Report that in recent months “gangs affiliated with cartels have been threatening and extorting club owners.”
The same source said it appears different crime organizations are trying to “establish control of this plaza.”
In the underworld, a plaza is a geographic location used to smuggle drugs or operate an illicit trade, and anyone wanting to run a business in this area must pay a fee to stay in operation.