Monday, June 05, 2017


Severed heads found on Ensenada scenic road reveal gruesome killings

Borderland Beat from Zeta Tijuana and Ex Mexicano
June 3, 2017

The scenic route to Ensenada, which winds and bends, with the summer breeze, contains some of the most beautiful, tranquil in the entire Baja state, and California's western coast. The vineyards and landscapes are enchanting in their peace, to stand at Miramar point and watch the waves breaking across the Pacific, to watch as sunset settles across the bay is healing and inspiring in it's casual, natural beauty.

The severed heads were found on the scenic road, close to Salsepuides Bay, in black bags, early on the morning of Monday, May 29th. Last month, near that same side of the road, I was staring out of the window, with the same awed gaze, childlike wonder, I often have when traveling, by train in France, ferry in Spain, or driven in an SUV back to Tijuana.

Valle was everything it's been described as, food that rivals the best kitchens of Tijuana, and L.A, hotels, naturalistic and creatively designed, and just the harsh beauty of nature, the way darkness falls with a heavy hand, the way it does not in the city. It was a relief to relax against the mountains, take in the vineyards at sunset, distance from the heart, the mind, the memories and thoughts that awaken you in the morning.

I read on Monday, severed heads, found on the highway, in black bags, and I paused. I felt sorrow for the victims, and the community, and also a thought of what had really happened. Why had this happened? It bore the now unmistakable signs of drug violence, disarticulation, cheap black bags, tossed on the side of the road, casual cruelty, which mercilessly appear in Tijuana.

Why this place? There are small colonias that decorate the interior of the Guadelupe Valley, and they are no more well of then those in Ensenada or Tijuana. It's with a guilty, heavy heart that I passed by the small stores, the school children, the little houses, amidst the luxuries and meals enjoyed by others. They are small and not densely populated, there is not much retail drug business to be had. Though, years of knowledge, has condemned me with the reality that severe violence and killing will be committed for the seemingly smallest of rewards.

Still, there is rarely violence, or mantas, or shootouts, or any of the signs in the Valle. But, this may have been a sign. I didn't write a story. I thought I had too, but I wanted to wait. Would blame be assigned? Would Zeta reveal a new emerging struggle for power as off shoots of Sinaloa backed players in Ensenada expanded their territory?

Would I betray my still fresh memories of Valle, and the people I met, places I visited, by writing with blunt, stylistic tones about unspeakable, yet not unspeakable violence, that could threaten their existence?

The victims were identified as retired teachers, a couple, living in nearby Colonias, Silvia Gonzalez Galindo, and Jose Roman Miranda, in their 60's. Their corpses were located in Sanchez Taboada, Tijuana, one of the hottest colonias in the city, where bodies appear near daily. They had been picked up on May 23rd, to go view a home for sale in Ensenada, by their friend, Francisco "N", also a teacher, in his early 50's.

Francisco was arrested Friday, as one of two men suspected in the killings, decapitations of the retired couple, whom had known their killer. There no motive given, a WhatsApp message to children related to the couple was received, stating "not to make waves", but no ransom message was ever sent, and the bodies were found a day or so later.

Later articles may detail why this couple was brutally killed, and dismembered, obviously, some of that was to conceal the crime, or try to have it lost in the sea of killings that take so many family members, friends, children from these communities. It's happened before, in cities across Mexico, black bags and severed heads, to disguise a personal crime, a crime of passion, a financially motivated crime.

There's a blackness that lurks in many, maybe most people. The victims died from neck injury from decapitation. Their bodies were tossed in Tijuana, their heads in Valle. Javier Francisco Arellano ordered the same fate for half dozen Rosarito Beach police officers, with whom he had a minor grudge, after they disturbed a narco bacchanal at one of his residences, in 2006.

A blackness that can consume, as the sun's descent does in the Valle, final, smothering all in its wake.


Anonymous said...

It's just as dangerous to meet someone in response to a Craigslist ad in the U.S.

bob walsh said...

Mexico is a hyperdangerous third-world shit hole run openly by vicious criminals. Anyone who goes there voluntarily is an idiot.