The call comes over an intercepted police radio transmission just when our tacos arrive: One man has been beheaded and dismembered, his body parts strewn around a field, while a bomb has exploded on the other side of town in a separate incident.
Welcome to Juarez.
We leave our food and jump into an SUV, racing through red lights on darkened streets. This is one of the world's most deadly cities for reporters and car crashes are a major contributor to the danger, says the local journalist - doubling as high-speed chauffeur.
The police are on the scene when we arrive and yellow tape stretches between telephone poles in the working class suburb. The mangled body lays in a dusty field, covered by white sheets. One more victim of 21st century conflict: a gruesome drug war devoid of ideology or basic morality. Juarez, on Mexico’s border with Texas, is the world’s most dangerous city - worse than Baghdad - according to a 2009 study by the Citizen Council for Public Security and Justice, a Mexican non-profit organisation. Other studies dispute this claim.
At the site of the beheading, we flash press passes and duck under the police tape. This kind of scene is more a formality than a serious investigation; CSI style forensics are rarely used here - there are too many dead bodies stretching scant resources.
Despite eruptions of light from camera flashes, nobody can get proper photos in the dark. By the time we head out, several other journalists have arrived on the scene.
For reporters and gravediggers, this is a boom town. For average people, cognitive disassociation from ultra-violence seems to be the only way to survive daily life. Imagine a real-life Quentin Tarantino movie; blood for its own sake, pulp fiction with factual fatalities.
More than 3,000 people were killed in this city - population 1.3 million - in 2010 alone, ten times the figure for 2007, according to the El Paso Times newspaper.
Spectacular beheadings and brazen day-time shootings, along with the occasional banner hung with a scrawled message, are the cartels' communication methods. The medium, in this case, is the message. And the message is clear: Fear us.
El Diario, the city's leading newspaper, published an open editorial to the cartels in 2009, calling them the "de facto authority in the city" and asking for advice on what they shouldn’t publish, in order to keep their reporters alive.
On the surface, a turf war between the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful trafficking organisation, and the Juarez cartel lurks behind the bloodshed, as gangsters battle for lucrative shipping routes into the US. The decision of Felipe Calderon, Mexico's president, to declare all-out war on the cartels in 2006, exacerbated inter-cartel tensions.
Joaquin "el Chapo" ["Shorty"] Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, was listed (by Forbes magazine) as the world's second most wanted man - then behind only Osama bin Laden. The US Drug Enforcement Agency has a $5m bounty on his head. His net worth is estimated at more than $1bn.
Tales of el Chapo's exploits swirl through Juarez. Locals say he walked into a nice restaurant not too long ago. His guards demanded that patrons hand over their mobile phones. Guzman ate his meal, and then paid the tab of everyone in the restaurant. The place burned to the ground in a suspicious fire soon afterwards.
Authorities scored a coup in 2003 when they captured Chapo, sending him to jail. But the billionaire kingpin had the last laugh, escaping from jail in a laundry truck.
Today, security forces are keen to show that they control the prisons, if not the city itself. A group of a dozen local journalists gather outside a jail. Some guards dress up like inmates, covering their faces with bandanas, and hurling rocks and tires at security forces in riot gear. It's a mock jail break for the press. The inmates are quickly subdued by the guards, boot and guns press against necks, as the cuffs are slammed across wrists. But the rocks and tear gas are real. One leading jail guard gets his lip split by a projectile.
The journalists seem happy, most press events involve boring speeches, a few charts and some sandwiches. This one has great photo-ops and a hint of excitement - without any real danger.
While Juarez has become known for violence, El Paso, right across the border, is – remarkably – a safe, quiet, city with a declining crime rate.
Many former Juarez residents, especially those with money or US residency, have left town. But the local journalist working with me cannot leave, at least in the short-term. It's impossible to live in El Paso while earning Mexican wages. "When my kids want to go to the movies, or have a burger, we cross," he says. Each trip takes two to three hours. Some Juarez natives run their factories from El Paso.
The city used to have a gritty, rough-and-ready, seedy reputation. But even that celebration of scandal and immorality has been ruined by current violence.
"That used to be the best strip club in Juarez," says the local journalist, as we pass a blackened shell.
Ten years ago, American eighteen-year-olds would cross the border for a night of illicit, under-age booze and maybe a dirty dance. No longer.
On a Friday night, the police erect checkpoints at entrance points to a downtown strip with half a dozen bars and restaurants. People come out in droves, eating chicken wings and drinking beer in a road-house style pool bar that feels more like Texas than Mexico. But outside of this Mexican version of Baghdad's infamous green zone, the party stops early.
Despite the violence, children still go to school, couples get married, roads are paved and residents gather at local churches for Sunday mass.
And, while Juarez may be the world’s most violent city, life there goes on, even if death lurks around every corner.