Sources: Gulf-Zetas war flares near Texas-Tamps. border, killing capo and baby alike
March 8th 2012 · 4 Comments
In the past week, an ongoing turf war near the Texas border in Tamaulipas state reportedly has spurred bloody clashes between members of the rival Zetas and Gulf cartels.The violence, some of which has involved the Mexican military, has touched Rio Bravo, Matamoros, Valle Hermoso, Nuevo Laredo and — away from the border — the state capital of Ciudad Victoria.
On Wednesday, residents of this small city across the border from Roma fled for cover just after lunch time, when a firefight between groups of gunmen took place in the city’s downtown district. Details of the firefight — including the number of casualties — were not readily available, but the clash reportedly ended shortly before 3:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday evenings also saw firefights between non-military gunmen, which led to brief chases and road blockades.
The firefights stemmed from an incursion by the Zetas, who appear to be trying to take the city, said a source outside law enforcement. The advance resulted in the death of the Gulf Cartel’s plaza boss for Ciudad Mier — which lies across the border, eight miles west of Roma — and in kidnappings, including that of a pregnant woman whose body was later dumped near the city.
Four grenades thrown by unknown individuals Tuesday rattled citizens of this city, which lies across the border from Donna.
The grenade attacks began shortly after 1 p.m., when the individuals would drive by and lob the explosives, said a source outside law enforcement with direct knowledge of the situation. Two of the more commonly known targets that were struck by the grenades included the local police station and the city’s municipal gym. The attacks didn’t cause any casualties.
Violent incidents kicked off Friday morning, when investigators with the Tamaulipas Ministerial Police were called to an empty lot behind the Soriana shopping center in the Lauro Villar Boulevard in connection with a body that had been torched. The shopping center is right by Veterans International Bridge, which leads to Brownsville. A Tamaulipas law enforcement official not authorized to speak to the media stated that the body was that of a man and had in fact appeared to have been intentionally burned. The official wouldn’t comment on the nature of the homicide and declined further comment on the case.
On Tuesday morning, state officials found a body floating in the river with signs of torture and apparent ligatures on the hands and feet. The identity of the man — whose body showed signs of decomposition — had not been determined.
In the rural city of Valle Hermoso, some 28 miles south of Brownsville, Tamaulipas Ministerial Police officers were called Monday morning to the city’s municipal gym in the downtown area after four bodies were found inside.
State officials wouldn’t comment on the discovery, but a source outside law enforcement said they were four Zetas who had been killed by members of the Gulf Cartel. The bodies showed signs of torture; each had a “Z” painted across the chest.
A firefight late Sunday between gunmen and the Mexican military resulted in at least one injury, when a 14-year-old gunman was rushed to the pediatric unit of the general hospital in Matamoros. The current status of the young gunman couldn’t be learned.
On Sunday, the Mexican military confirmed the death of Gerardo “El Guerra” Guerra Valdez, the Zetas plaza boss for Nuevo Laredo and one of the original Zetas, code-named “Z-15.” Guerra was killed March 1 after a firefight with the Mexican army that resulted in the death of 13 gunmen and the injuring of three soldiers. A source outside law enforcement confirmed another shootout between members of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas on Sunday near a shopping center along Avenida Reforma. During the firefight, citizens sought cover and gunmen battled inside and outside the shopping center.
The firefight left at least 10 injured and killed 18-month-old Bridan Gabriel De Luna Meza. Nuevo Laredo city officials confirmed the death of the baby and said they have helped the family with medical expenses and will cover the funeral costs.
The Tamaulipas state capital has seen daily firefights and grenade attacks since March 1. One grenade attack at the Ministerial Police resulted in several officers being taken to a local hospital.
The firefights are connected to an internal struggle among the Zetas, as well as an effort by the Gulf Cartel and their allies in the Sinaloa Cartel to take control of the city from the Zetas, said a source outside law enforcement with direct knowledge of the situation. The struggle has resulted in numerous bodies being dumped around the city.
The violence in the city has resulted in the death of one officer and several others being injured, according to a news release from the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office. The release didn’t provide specific information on the firefights or the bodies being dumped around the city.
A version of this column originally appeared in www.themonitor.com.
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