The first time I went to Tijuana was in 2010. I made a beeline to Avenida Revolución – TJ’s version of NYC’s old 42nd Street – just to see how quickly I could dive into the city’s famous underbelly. It was a ‘sociological whim’.
I used my old instincts, dressed in a dope leather jacket and a hard look on my face. I’d done this kind of thing before, in many other places. I was searching for something, like a hunter who hunts with a camera instead of a gun.
In the second shop I entered – which sold lottery tickets, trinkets and pills – the shopkeeper noticed.
Within minutes, we started talking. “You long in Tijuana?” he asked. (Pause)
“What do you want?”
I laughed mockingly. “I doubt you can get what I want”.
“Oh yeah… like what?” he answered defiantly. “You like drugs? Sex?”
He started rattling off a list (”blow, speed, ecstasy”) and said that he knew a great place with hot women.
“Nope,” I answered. “Not what I had in mind”.
“Oh no? Like what?” he asked. (Pause) “What you looking for man?”
“Oh wait…” He smirked. “Wait… I know what you want”.
He motioned for me to follow. There were four of us now: me, the shopkeeper and two others, who either worked there or had just arrived. We all headed to the corridor that led back to an office door, which the owner opened and entered. Once we were all inside and the door closed, he leaned over and opened the door of a large armory, where three AK-47s were placed on racks. On the shelf below there were 3 45s, a 38 and several Glocks.
“You like guns?” he asked.
I stood there with the others, staring at the weapons. One of them said that I had hit the jackpot. We all laughed. Then we started talking about their power and beauty.
“You need services too, my friend?” he asked.
Within an hour of landing in TJ, I knew how to hire a hit man, probably for less than USD $1,000.
“I get you the best deal in Tijuana,” he said.