Tijuana, Bala California, Mexico - Last weekend, five suspected members of a criminal cell within the Sinaloa Cartel were arrested in Tijuana as the result of a bi-national information sharing effort between the U.S. Border Patrol and Mexican law enforcement officials with the Municipal Public Security Secretariat and the State Preventive Police.

The information that led to the arrests was gathered from a current Border Patrol enforcement operation focused along the border in eastern portions of San Diego County and the western edge of Imperial County.  The operation has produced multiple arrests, and through subsequent interviews, agents were able to obtain valuable information regarding the suspected criminal operatives in Mexico.  Agents shared the intelligence with Mexican authorities, who later located and arrested the five criminal cell members in Tijuana throughout the weekend. 

The five individuals are suspected of being connected to an individual known as “Paco Troncas,” who is allegedly the leader of a Baja California criminal cell of the Sinaloa Cartel.

San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Richard Barlow said, “The arrests of these suspects clearly demonstrates the exceptional level of bi-national cooperation that the Border Patrol has with the government of Mexico.  We fully intend to maintain this level of cooperation to locate and apprehend our priority targets and their affiliates.”

In connection to the arrests, Mexican authorities seized an AR-15 assault rifle, a ballistic vest, and more than one kilogram of marijuana. 

The Border Patrol enforcement operation currently taking place is targeting previously convicted human smuggler Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, who is also allegedly associated with the Sinaloa Cartel.