“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Víctor Ismael Tapia (“El Tapia”), ex Tecate policeman and CJNG member|
According to Mexican authorities, Víctor Ismael Tapia (“El Tapia”), former police officer in Tecate, Baja California, was responsible for paying municipal police officers on the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG)’s payroll. On July 24, Tecate authorities issued a communique saying they had found a bullet-ridden body on a dirt road in Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood. His former colleagues identified the corpse as Tapia’s immediately.
Baja California states officials said that Tapia paid active police officers who supported the CJNG. His role also included collecting money from the CJNG’s tienditas (“little stores”), any place where small quantities of drugs are sold, as well as recruiting police officers. This info was confirmed by Ismael Gómez Sierra (“El Chiquilín”), also a former municipal police officer who worked for the CJNG and was arrested earlier this month.
His former colleagues said that Tapia resigned from the Tecate Municipal Police force in 2017, the same year that CJNG regional boss Javier López Ríos (“Tito Torbellino”) was killed in Tecate. Among his last tasks in the police was being part of the security circle of Tecate police chief Francisco Castro Trenti. Tapia then worked for the Tecate Municipality’s cleaning department while working as the CJNG’s liaison with the local police.
This was not the first time cartel members attempted against Tapia. Back in September 11, 2015, Tapia survived an attempt on his life when gunmen attacked his house in Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood. Tapia blamed police commander Alejandra Hernández Villa for the attack; he claimed he saw her roaming around the neighborhood several times in civilian clothes before gunmen attacked his home.
According to state officials, Tecate is under the control of the CJNG. As mentioned above, El Chiquilín was arrested earlier this month. He was reportedly the second-in-command there along with Danny Isaac Ortiz Covarrubias (“El Moreno”).
The CJNG’s financial operator in Tecate is reportedly Samuel Vaca Garcia (“El Primo”). Both El Primo and El Moreno are the main suspects in the May 2020 murder case of Tecate police officers Rosalba Santillán Esqueda and Pedro Ignacio González,
Other high-ranking members who oversee Tecate include Alejandro Estrada Bañuelos (“El Lic del Diablo”), who has been cited as an attorney for the CJNG. El Moreno has a brother, Miguel Ortiz Covarrubias (“El Miguelito), who also operates in Tecate along with a cousin known by his alias El Juanito and/or El Michoacano.