Here at CityBeat, we check the Wikileaks' cable dumps on a daily basis for San Diego ties. To date, the organization has only released 5,000 out of 250,000 state department memos and so far, these have included reports on a shady Russian politician with property in Carlsbad, a North County energy company investing in lawless southern Italy, Maria Shriver's heart-to-heart with Sonia Gandi, and Congressman Darrell Issa's scheming with Lebanese Brazilians.
The stories keep coming, but sometimes they're fairly minor. One cable mentions how the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Zoo were among the first buyers of chambira palm tree baskets from the Amazon. Another details how San Diego Community College was helping a Brazilian school develop a biotechnology curriculum.
But here's an interesting nugget from a US Embassy Mexico cable published on Sunday: During a December 2007 Senate visit to Mexico City, President Felipe Calderón told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that San Diego residents were probably responsible for a Nov. 27, 2007 attack on community activist Alberto Capella Ibarra. ---
Calderon said "Americans want a secure border -- I do too." He added that on November 28, Alberto Capella Ibarra, a civic leader in Tijuana fighting corruption had his house attacked by criminals likely living in San Diego. Organized crime was active on both sides of the border. To solve problem [sic] of San Diego-Tijuana or El Paso-Juarez some problems would lie in San Diego or El Paso.
According to a press release from Capella's organization, Citizen Council on Public Security, approximately 20 men were involved in the shooting. Capella survived and nearly a year later, that attack was recounted in frightening detail in the NY Times, when Ibarra was named Tijuana's chief of police.
It was the wee hours of the morning when the heavily armed assailants, perhaps two dozen in all and dressed entirely in black, came sneaking up outside Alberto Capella Ibarra's home. A dog's bark woke him. Then a barrage of bullets rang out.
“It was bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,” said Mr. Capella, who leads Tijuana's troubled police force, describing the welcome he received from a group of still-unidentified criminals days before his appointment to one of the most thankless and dangerous jobs anywhere was formally announced.
...Mr. Capella, a marked man, but now a heavily protected one, described how he managed to survive that night, when he says 250 bullets were fired at him.
“I got down and grabbed a gun,” he said. “I shot back out at them, first from down there, and then from up there.”Mr. Capella, 36, who is separated from his wife and thus had neither her nor his three children around that night, suspects that because he was running up and down the stairs firing like a madman, the assassins must have suspected that he had backup. In reality, though, he was alone.
But one detail that doesn't appear in the piece is that the attackers were suspected to be from San Diego—the writer points out that very few cases like this are solved—and Calderón gives no indication in the cable about the source of his information.
There's nothing surprising about cartel members living in San Diego; last summer, the US Attorney's office charged 42 cartel members, many of whom were living in the county. What may be interesting is that Calderón felt confident enough about their location within days of the shooting to share it with Reid.
As for Capella, he was fired from the police force in 2008, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, "following weeks of unprecedented violence," including one weekend in which 34 people were killed in Tijuana.