All hell broke loose Sunday night in the border town of Reynosa, across the river from McAllen Texas as various factions of the Gulf Cartel took to the streets to settle internal conflicts within the group.
For about 3 hours, gunfire, grenade explosions and convoys of armed combatants were seen and reported through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, main stream media in Mexico refrained from reporting the incidents.
It should be noted that none of the incidents spilled over into the United States and as far as we can determine, no alerts were issued by CBP nor was security enhanced at the international bridges.
This comes as Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has begun his promised draw down of troops involved in fighting the cartels operating in Mexico.
During the past six years, more than 50,000 troops were engaged daily in the war against drug trafficking, unlike today where there are only 32,253 troops active. Seizures and arrests are also down compared to this time last year.
Here’s some disturbing facts as reported by LA POLICIACA.
According to information obtained, a total of 9 soldiers died from December 2012 to January 31 according to the only data available from SEDENA. Within the context of fighting against drug trafficking: 6 were killed in firefights, 2 in traffic accident, and one who drowned. Of these, one was a special force sergeant who died in the state of Sinaloa.
Meanwhile, from December 2006 to December 2012, 224 soldiers died during the war on drugs, of which 171 were killed by firearms, 31 were executed, 6 who were run over to death, 12 who drowned, and four more from electric shock.
Within the two months of Peña Nieto’s administration, the average number of soldiers who died with the use of the implementation of the Act of Firearms and Explosives was 4.5 per month. During the 6 years of the Calderón administration, the average was 3.1 per month.
The information from the SEDENA claims that within the three months of the current administration, soldiers have arrested a monthly average of 625 criminal suspects. During the previous administration the figure was 706 per month.
During this administration, the average monthly number of rifles, handguns, and grenades secured was 738 (rifles), 341 (handguns) and 126 (grenades) while during the previous administration the figures were 1,055 (rifles), 693 (handguns) and 146 (grenades), respectively.
Overall, in the previous administration the military arrested 50,897 suspected criminals and secured 75,974 rifles, 49,943 handguns, and 10,583.
But back to the incidents in Reynosa on Sunday night where the military was nowhere to be found until more than two hours into the conflict.
As mentioned, there was absolutely no warnings, notices or news of the conflict on either side of the border. People turned to social media for that. The premier site being the Facebook page “Valor por Tamaulipas” and who continues to report on the conflict that stretched from Rio Bravo, south of Reynosa and to the north as far as Ciudad Camargo, across from Roma Texas. Today, the violence has dialed down and the Mexican Army, Federal and State police and Mexican Marines are out in force. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late and reports coming out of Reynosa suggest that the authorities are going through the motions to convey a sense of “security” while only detaining low level criminals and ignoring the capos responsible for the carnage.
Reynosa la actividad de SEMAR es estrategia para brindar la imagen de seguridad, solo detenciones de bajo perfil
From here forward, we’re going to let the story tell itself with photos of the night of violence and quotes from coverage by our good friends and colleagues at Borderland Beat and from Valor por Tamaulipas.
VALOR POR TAMAULIPAS:
- through the plaza de toros there were approximately 15 to 20 black vehicles with letters written on them
- In the colony Bermudez they are starting to remove two cars to blocks away from a gas station OXXO (They are moving a blockade)
- There was a confrontation through Hidalgo, PGR, avenida del pasito, Periférico
- There are reports that workers of a petrol company were assaulted
- Activities on Jarachina Norte, Muros, VillaFlorida Sector B.
- Blockades on the boulevard Oriente
- In the south entrance of Jarachina by el church, there were armed gunmen with trucks that said “M3” and “CDG”
- There was a blockade on the street rio purificacion and praxedis balboa, la Alvaro Obregón, 15 de enero
- Entering the neighborhood 4 Hda, blocked trucks with armed gunmen were seen dragging dead people in front of OXXO in a van that was fully shot out
- Convoy of 15 trucks going to the center on rio purificacion, on the second turn there were 20 trucks that had the words “M3” and “M4”
- There are reports that indicate that it is not an attack on the Zetas, rather an internal conflict is occurring
- 5 trucks with armed gunmen and a cloned Federal Police truck was seen by el Alvaro Obregon
- There was an alert to neighbors of loma real to not go outside because people were looking for a Commando
- In front of Envidias there was a person who was either thrown or run over on the boulevard Morelos
- Armed gunmen in front of cet 71 in the colony Beatty Chamacos in a black Suburban and a Silverado with the sign “M3”
- Two trucks incinerated
- Civilians wearing military uniforms were seen pulling 2 burned bodies
- Reports of innocent civilians injured in the area of valle alto, entering Villa Florida, bridge of periferico
- Users report that the shootouts started by Los Guerra, and indicated that the shootouts ended by the center of Miguel Alemán
- Heavy precense of Soldiers, Marines, Federal Police and State Police by the street Nacional Monterey-Laredo by the km 13
“The situation that occurred was because of internal conflict over the leadership of the faction of the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa. This situation had been brewing for some time and increased when M4 was executed. They then had problems with the commander Cortez, and now with Commander Gringo. There were also problems with the factions of Reynosa from Ribereña.About the circus, there was aggression, some reported grenades being detonated. The situation is still not clear yet or how many people were injured. It was reported that there was a tiger that escaped, but people who were there do not mention anything regarding an escaped tiger.Tomorrow (Monday) Reynosa will be on red alert. There were reports that innocent people were affected.
“Sunday March 10- Two young men, who work for the IFE (Federal Electoral Institute) in Ciudad Victoria, were surrounded by eight trucks when these young people were doing their work in the colony of Moderna. They were interrogated, beaten, and also threatened not to return to that place. Today (Monday), Soldiers are in the offices of the IFE, possibly to take action regarding these events.”“Armed gunmen entered a house and there were gunshots heard, that is all that is known. There are also trucks outside of the house. This occurred in Bugambilias(Located in Reynosa, Tamaulipas). Other reports mention that there were some revisions going on by a local cartel.”“Armed gunmen were seen at Tec. De Jarachina Sur (a technical University); apparently there are soldiers by the university also.”“A lot of movement with trucks and cars with armed gunmen moving. Apparently they have things in the back of the trucks. This also occurred in Bugambilias. Apparently it’s some members of the Gulf Cartel moving into this location.”“It is correct that they are busting businesses and properties of the faction of the Gulf Cartel members that lost the battle yesterday (The ones who were following El Gringo and El Commandante Puma who controlled Olmo.”
One of the things that disgusts me the most about this whole incident is a COMUNICADO DE LA PROCURADURIA GENERAL DE JUSTICIA DEL ESTADO or in English, a statement by the Tamaulipas State Attorney Generals office. The English translation follows:
“Staff Attorney investigating these facts, states that at 23:00 pm on Sunday, received report of a collateral victim of the clashes in Hidalgo and Avenida Cima Boulevard, at the entrance to a convenience store along to a gas station.
This is a child who was hit by a bullet that killed him when he was traveling with his father in a private vehicle. The victim’s father was also with neck injury caused by firearm shot. His health was reported as stable by doctors who treated him.
Later, at 23:23 pm and reported on the Bypass to Matamoros, across the bridge Peripheral, the death of a taxi service worker whose body was found inside a Nissan Tsuru 2009 model, with 1443VSL plates. He was identified as Jose Luis Vargas Hernandez, 37 years old. It had a bullet wound in the neck, then the bullet went through the windshield of the taxi he was driving.
The mobilization of security forces allowed the assurance of 22 vehicles and the arrest of seven people linked to the established facts, same that were made available to the delegation of the Attorney General’s office in Tamaulipas”
The child, some are reporting was a teenager, was 8 years old. His funeral was this morning in Reynosa. The PJRE reported these as the only two fatalities in the conflict despire the fact that witnesses saw as many as 50 bodies being thrown in trucks to be hauled away by each faction. In two cases, on Blvd. Hidalgo, bullet ridden vehicles with as many as four bodies still inside, were seen on the boulevard hours after the fact.
As reported in THE MONITOR, the McAllen Texas daily that was the only one to report on the incident;
The opening clashes were reported just before 9 p.m. Sunday, when rival factions of the Gulf Cartel consummated what appeared to be a yet another rift within the criminal organization.During the protracted gunbattle, dozens of gunmen were killed, but authorities Monday would only confirm the deaths of two bystanders and the injury of a third.A Tamaulipas law enforcement official, who asked to not be named citing security reasons, confirmed that the death toll was about three dozen, however the exact figures were not known because cartel gunmen picked up their own people’s bodies during the struggle.In a news release, the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office, known as the PGJE, confirmed that the two slain bystanders were a taxi driver and a teenager who was riding a vehicle with his father. The release confirms one person was injured and seven gunmen arrested, and it states that authorities seized 22 vehicles that were used in the melee, but it doesn’t mention any gunmen dying.The Tamaulipas law enforcement agent called the new release issued by his superiors an insult to common sense.“There were four trucks filled with bodies that (members of organized crime) picked up,” the official said. “That is not counting the (bodies) that were left behind.”The news release doesn’t mention a bullet-riddled SUV that was left along Boulevard Hidalgo, one of the city’s main avenues, just south of Vista Hermosa Avenue near the local headquarters of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, known as the PGR. Inside the truck, four bloodied bodies could be seen from a distance hours after sundown Sunday. Just north of that location near the Fiesta Inn Hotel along Boulevard Hidalgo, another bullet-riddled vehicle could be seen with three bodies inside.