Severed head, cartel threat welcome Tijuana’s new police chief on Day 1

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The Tijuana Police Department’s new police Chief Rafael Vázquez Hernández salutes the Mexican flag as he is being sworn in. The outstretched arm is the traditional way city, state and federal officials in Mexico are sworn in. (Courtesy: City of Tijuana)

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TIJUANA (Border Report) — Tijuana’s new police chief has received a death threat in the form of a severed head, city officials said.

It was only his first day on the job when a severed human head surfaced, threatening police Chief Rafael Vázquez Hernández’s life for reportedly working with the Sinaloa cartel, formerly run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Tijuana’s new mayor, Montserrat Caballero Ramírez, confirmed that a cartel put a human head inside a plastic bag and left it on a city street on Tuesday night, at the end of the new chief’s first day on the job.

Montserrat Caballero Ramírez is Tijuana’s new mayor. Courtesy: City of Tijuana)

“If there are threats in relation to his job I see it as an indication these thugs feel threatened,” the mayor said. “They left a message of fear, but this message only confirms who they are. They claim to be decent and they leave a skinned body part? It doesn’t deserve more than our efforts to keep working to fortify all of our correct actions.”

Vázquez Hernández did not comment on the threat, which reportedly linked him to the Sinaloa cartel.

The mayor stated the chief was vetted, and his background was checked extensively before being appointed.

She said all of her appointees will be in place to “clean house” and contain the number of murders in the city of Tijuana, which has seen more than 2,000 homicides yearly in recent years, most attributed to the ongoing battle between drug cartels. The city has also received the dubious honor of being the “most dangerous” city in the world.

Vázquez Hernández has been in law enforcement for 19 years.

He had served as the head of investigations for Baja California’s State Police Department and had held other high-ranking posts in cities like Mexicali and San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora.

The chief has also reportedly trained with the Yuma, Arizona Police Department in areas such as auto theft, capturing international fugitives and gang prevention.

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