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Record 105 Ton Marijuana Seizure In Tijuana

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Record 105 Ton Marijuana Seizure In Tijuana

Record 105 Ton Marijuana Seizure In Tijuana

Tijuana police seized a record 105 tons of marijuana they say was headed for sale in the United States. It’s one of the biggest pot busts in all of Mexico in recent years.

Tijuana municipal police display 105 tons of marijuana they seized from a convoy of smugglers on October 18, 2010.

Smugglers had marked each brick of marijuana with names or initials like "toro", "inge", and "cap." Tijuana authorities say they are still trying to determine whose marijuana it is.

Tijuana authorities say the bust began when police, on a routine patrol, came across a convoy of suspicious vehicles.

Authorities say people in the vehicles shot at police. Police shot back. A suspect and a policeman were injured. Eventually, authorities detained 11 people and three trucks brimming with marijuana.

Authorities say that led them to six semi trailers, a van and two houses brimming with pot.

General Alfonso Duarte Mújica says the haul shows authorities’ crime-fighting strategy is working, “The seizure hits hard at criminal groups’ operational and financial structures.”

Duarte praised the Tijuana police that for decades has had a reputation as one of the most corrupt forces in the world and has been known to let criminals go, for the right price. “The Tijuana police is not the police of three years ago,” said Duarte. “Now it is a force that confronts criminals to guarantee the city’s safety.”

U.S. federal officials estimate the 105 tons of marijuana would fetch $70 million in the U.S. That’s about double what Duarte estimates the marijuana is worth in Tijuana. He says the haul could be rolled into 210 million marijuana cigarettes.

Mexican authorities say they’re still trying to determine to whom the pot belonged. They say the group must have stored up the 105 tons little by little, transporting shipments from Southern Mexico to Tijuana by sea, air and land.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice report, marijuana production in Mexico has increased by about 59 percent since 2003, and 36 percent between 2007 and 2008. At the same time, the report says eradication of marijuana in Mexico has dropped by 48 percent since 2006. That’s when Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon ordered soldiers from the pot fields, where they traditionally destroy marijuana grows, to city streets to fight drug cartels in the nation’s war against organized crime.

Tijuana’s Police Chief, Julian Leyzaola, says it took police and soldiers seven hours to unload the 10,000 packages of marijuana they seized at Tijuana’s military base.