Posted on: April 7, 2023, 03:56h.
Last updated on: April 7, 2023, 03:56h.
A clandestine casino in Tijuana, Mexico, was exposed for all the wrong reasons. An armed attack on the mini-casino located inside a grocery store left one man killed and two seriously injured Thursday night.
The three victims were playing the physical and online slots installed in the back of the building in Playas de Tijuana, a borough of Tijuana. At first glance, anyone walking by the place would think it was only a grocery store. In an adjacent room, though, it operated the gambling hall, which had its own entrance and exit door.
This is a common modus operandi across Mexico. Many shops and stores appear innocuous on the surface, but hold dark secrets, such as illegal gambling and illegal bars, behind the facade. Seldom, however, do trips to the properties turn deadly, although Tijuana seems to be particularly susceptible.
Death and Mayhem
An investigation of the armed attack is currently underway by the Attorney General’s Office (FGE, for its Spanish acronym). So far, the details are sketchy, and police are trying to piece together the puzzle, according to a statement by law enforcement officials.
Officers heard the shots and made their way to the scene. There, they found the victims but little else that would tell them what happened.
They know that the victim who lost his life, a man around 35, tried to run out of the place when the armed men entered and began shooting. However, he didn’t avoid the bullets that began flying.
He fell wounded on the sidewalk in front of a home next to the business. The other two victims, a 60-year-old man and a 48-year-old man, lay at the front door of the store.
Medical personnel arrived on the scene and declared the man who was lying on the sidewalk lifeless. The fatality was the result of a direct hit to the man’s chest.
Despite the seriousness of the injuries of the other two, the paramedics were able to stabilize them and transfer them to a hospital. One had been shot in the leg and arm, while the other also took a bullet to the chest. At the scene, officers found more than ten shell casings of different calibers.
The authorities haven’t released the victims’ identities, perhaps feeling that it could make the survivors repeat targets. The only clue so far is that the shooters left by vehicle, and the wounded men are the only people who might be able to identify the attackers.
Unraveling The Mystery
The grocery store has no sign identifying it and apparently wasn’t open to the public at the time of the attack. When the police arrived, they found the lights off and no employees inside. This only adds to the confusion surrounding the attack, as it doesn’t appear to be a robbery that went sideways.
It’s reminiscent of a similar attack that occurred this past January, also in Tijuana. In that violent episode, a man and a woman died, and two other people were injured. While there wasn’t much evidence, police believed the location was a trading post for illegal drugs.
As Mexico plans on cutting back on the number of licensed casinos, finding underground gambling halls won’t be a problem. They have plagued the country for years, especially in places like Tijuana. In each of the past three years, police have busted at least five clandestine casinos in the region, as well as others throughout the country.