Filed Under:  Drugs, Gulf Cartel, Kidnapping, Sinaloa Cartel

Piedras Negras, Mexico

November 21st 2011   ·   1 Comment

Piedras Negras, located in the middle of the Texas/Mexico border stretch, has hardly had its name muttered in the midst of Mexico’s border conflicts. With a population slightly over 150,000, it is a high traffic area for narcotic and human smuggling. Piedras is about 2.5 hours from San Antonio, Texas and 4 hours from Monterrey, Mexico.

Piedras is located roughly 2 hours northwest of Nuevo Laredo along the border. Nuevo Laredo is the border home-base for the Los Zetas. I guess you could say Piedras is 1st base. The Sinaloa Cartel made its push into the area a few years back with the forces of “La Barbie” and the “Los Negros”. “La Barbie” was born and raised in Laredo, Texas before making his way into the underworlds of Mexico. He salivated at the chance to take over his old home. “La Barbie” failed, and his crew was ran out by the Zetas as they were splintering away from the leadership of the Gulf Cartel.

The Sinaloa Cartel has not made a significant push into this zone again, only hoping to help the Gulf Cartel protect the border zone to the Southeast around Matamoros and Reynosa (as well as enforce its corridors around Juarez). The Cartel de Sinaloa uses the Gulf Cartels Matamoros and Reynosa corridors to smuggle narcotics in exchange for aiding the Gulf Cartel with backup from Zetas siege.

Piedras is almost a full days drive through Mexico to Ciudad Juarez. Juarez is where the Sinaloa Cartel is making its border home-base. It may not look far from birds eye, but it is a long drive because major highways do not connect the two efficiently. This has given the Zetas a buffer zone in Piedras away from major conflicts (Juarez/Reynosa/Monterrey).

West Texas (South of Midland and West of San Antonio in particular) is a vast and scarcely populated area. This has contributed to Piedras and Laredo being prime areas to smuggle narcotics and people. Many consider it the gold mine of border zones. Some see this as the reason the Zetas have turned to such ruthless actions, in order to protect what could be the most valuable corridors. (If desolate or highly populated is more valuable, that is another topic)

In October, 62 kidnapped migrants were freed from a suspected Zetas stash house in Piedras. 3 police officers were recently kidnapped and murdered in nearby Acuna. Weapons are regularly seized heading into Mexico from Eagle Pass, and narcotics are regularly seized heading out of Piedras into Texas.

I visited Piedras in 2008, even at this time the town was almost desolate at times. Many businesses were focused on catering to traffickers of some sort or another. Stores with supplies for travel and stores full of fake and stolen products were everywhere. Drug dealers openly sold their products in broad daylight. After dark it was hard to find a restaurant open in much of the town. I settled for a busy taco stand one evening, it ended up being a high traffic area for local drug dealers. Lots of young men wandered the streets looking for work of some sort, many spoke good English. Many of the men had either freshly been deported, or were waiting for a chance to make their way into Texas.

If I had to guess, I would assume Piedras does not have a huge number of users of Facebook, Twitter, Bloggers, or active media outlets (reporting crime). I saw very little of what I would call young adult students and business people in the area. The media of what is actually going on here seems be limited. A search on multiple Narco blogs reported 0 reports on Piedras. A Google News search drew very few articles as well. None of my contacts and friends in Mexico or Texas knew a thing about Piedras. The question is, what the HELL is really going on in Piedras Negras?

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Jared Wallace says:

    Well….I travel to Piedras Negras every three months or so, as my wife has family living down there. The reason for the general lack of news is the relative calm of the city. Other than a flare up in April of 2010, there isn’t a great deal of violence. Everyone I know down there has a legitimate job, from working in a sweets store to fixing cars, to caring for the elderly. The young people I know rarely use social networking, mostly because they lack a consistant access to the internet. Bottom line, stay away from the bad parts of town (like nightclubs and the red zone) and don’t wear flashy and expensive things and you won’t have any trouble.

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