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The mayor of a Mexican border city says she will live at an army base for safety

Mexican National Guards patrol among the lanes of cars entering the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, May 11, 2023. Montserrat Caballero, the mayor of the Mexican border city of Tijuana, said on June 12, 2023 she has decided to go live at an army base for her own safety, after she received threats.
Gregory Bull
/
AP
Mexican National Guards patrol among the lanes of cars entering the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, May 11, 2023. Montserrat Caballero, the mayor of the Mexican border city of Tijuana, said on June 12, 2023 she has decided to go live at an army base for her own safety, after she received threats.

MEXICO CITY — The mayor of the Mexican border city of Tijuana said she has decided to live at an army base for her own safety, after she received threats.

Mayor Montserrat Caballero announced the decision after confirming that police had found seven dead bodies stuffed in a pickup truck on Monday.

Police said they found the pickup truck parked at a gas station in Tijuana with the doors open; on the back seat of the cab lay a body wrapped in a blanket. Hidden under tires and wooden boards were six more bodies.

"I have received threats, so I am going to live at the base," Caballero said. Local media reported the army base is on the southern edge of Tijuana, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the city hall.

Caballero did not say who the threats had come from. The Tijuana city government said in a statement the threats were related to her administration's "strong results in weapons seizures and arrest of violent suspects."

It is well known that several drug cartels are waging turf battles in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the threats had been made by "organized crime groups," a term used in Mexico to refer to drug cartels. López Obrador said the same threats had been received simultaneously against the governor of the border state of Baja California, a former governor and the mayor.

López Obrador said the decision to move the mayor to the army base had been made about two weeks ago, "to protect her," though he did not offer any more details on the threats.

Killings in Tijuana have risen by about 9% in the last 12 months, according to the federal public safety department. Tijuana has more homicides that any other city in Mexico, with 1,818 killings in the 12-month period ending in May.

Caballero has acknowledged the cartels' strong presence in the past. In 2022, after gangs carjacked and burned at least 15 vehicles throughout the city, Caballero made a direct public appeal to stop targeting civilians.

"Today we are saying to the organized crime groups that are committing these crimes, that Tijuana is going to remain open and take care of its citizens," Caballero said in a video in 2022, adding "we also ask them to settle their debts with those who didn't pay what they owe, not with families and hard-working citizens."

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