Tijuana, Mexico is not an easy place to live. Crowds, traffic, pollution and unending border waits have been aggravated in recent years with a dramatic acceleration in drug violence throughout the country. Marcella has lived almost her entire life in this border town and has watched it change… unfortunately, for the worse. “When I was younger, my husband and I would go out all the time. Sometimes I would drive home late at night by myself with my top down in my Jeep; I wasn’t afraid.” Marcella has reason to be afraid now.
Just four days before our interview, a San Diego-born teenager was convicted of homicide and organized crime charges in the beheadings of four men on behalf of a drug cartel in central Mexico. The August 2010 killings ended with mutilated bodies being strung from a highway bridge in Cuernavaca, a tourist destination just south of Mexico City. In 2009 alone, Tijuana saw 556 murders, mostly from escalating drug cartel clashes.