PRECINCT 444 Podcast

A Podcast of The National Law Enforcement Museum

Encore | Operation Shadow Game: How the DEA Broke the Tijuana Cartel, Part 2


For over 14 months, the DEA tracked a fishing boat belonging to the kingpin of the Tijuana Cartel. The boat, named the “Dock Holiday,” was often sailed off the Mexican coast until finally, in August of 2006, the boat sailed into international waters and was intercepted by the United States Coast Guard. The kingpin was captured and DEA agents were able to take down one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels. The surveillance of the boat was part of an investigation of the Tijuana Cartel known as “Operation Shadow Game.”

On display at the museum, you can see a life ring from the Dock Holiday, which is on loan from the DEA’s collection, in the History Time Capsule exhibit. Originally hosted in 2016, the National Law Enforcement Museum hosted a program titled “Operation Shadow Game” which discussed the investigation of the Tijuana Cartel with DEA Agents and members of the California Department of Justice who collaborated on the investigation.

Part 2 of this series starts with a look into the local gangs of San Diego and how they were central to the Tijuana Cartel’s movements and success. One agent also talks about the importance of developing a relationship with Mexican law enforcement officials, since the United States had no jurisdiction and could not make arrests without their assistance. Lastly, the agents cover one of the biggest hurdles of the investigation: corruption in Mexico and difficult it was to overcome and out maneuver.

The third and final part will air next Wednesday, December 13th.


Opening Remarks

Craig Floyd, Former CEO of the NLEOMF


Dr. Nathan Jones, Associate Professor, Sam Houston State University

  • Juan Martinez, Special Agent, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Al Hargrove, Special Agent, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Manuel Castañón, Special Agent, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Steve Duncan, California Department of Justice