Four Latino Tourists Found Murdered in Tijuana

Four young Latinos who crossed into Tijuana for a night of partying were found murdered in the border city, U.S. officials confirmed yesterday.

Charles Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, identified the victims as Brianna Hernandez, 19, Carmen Jimena Ramos, 20, Oscar Jorge Garcia, 23, and Luis Antonio Gamez III, 21. They were found tied up in a van—their bodies beaten, stabbed and strangled to death—last Saturday, but their deaths were not immediately announced because the murders were under investigation. A friend told the victim's parents that they were headed to party in nightclubs in Tijuana last Thursday night, but the group was reported missing the next day when none of them answered their cell phones.

Unfortunately, their deaths are just the latest in a growing number of violent deaths that have plagued the border city of Tijuana for the last several months. Authorities point to an ongoing turf war between two of Mexico's leading drug cartels as the reason for most of the violence. Fermin Gomez, an assistant state prosecutor in Baja California investigating the crimes, shared that relatives had confirmed that one of the victims was acquainted with some local drug traffickers.