Mex­i­can king­pin’s ar­rest sparks gun­fights, 3 dead

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A car­tel at­tacked Mex­i­can se­cu­rity forces Fri­day in re­ac­tion to a drug lord’s ar­rest in a city near the U.S. bor­der, un­leash­ing gun­fights that killed at least three gun­men and wounded two of­fi­cers.

The gang torched sev­eral ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing a school bus, and used trucks and cars to block streets in Reynosa, sow­ing panic in the city of 610,000 peo­ple across from McAllen, Texas.

Ter­ri­fied Reynosa res­i­dents posted pic­tures on Twit­ter of burning ve­hi­cles and peo­ple tak­ing cover on the ground, while the U.S. con­sulate urged Amer­i­cans to stay in­doors.

The fire­fights be­gan af­ter a leader of the Gulf car­tel was ar­rested in the city, two fed­eral of­fi­cials said on con­di­tion of anonymity, iden­ti­fy­ing the sus­pect only by his nick­name, “El Gafe” (The Jinxed One).

His ar­rest dealt a new blow to the gang, which holds sway in north­ern Ta­mauli­pas state but has seen sev­eral lead­ers taken down, trig­ger­ing deadly in­ter­nal power strug­gles that have surged along the bor­der this year.

The Gulf gang’s vi­o­lent re­ac­tion echoed sim­i­lar op­er­a­tions launched by an­other crim­i­nal group, the Jalisco New Gen­er­a­tion Drug Car­tel, against se­cu­rity forces.

The New Gen­er­a­tion launched two am­bushes on fed­eral and state po­lice in the west­ern state of Jalisco that left a to­tal of 20 of- fi­cers dead in re­cent weeks in ap­par­ent re­venge over the take­down of gang mem­bers.

Car­tel ‘re­sis­tance’

A Ta­mauli­pas se­cu­rity task force is­sued a state­ment say­ing that army troops and fed­eral po­lice had de­tained an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of gang mem­bers.

“Re­sult­ing from the op­er­a­tion, mem­bers of the same crim­i­nal group re­acted by at­tack­ing fed­eral and Ta­mauli­pas forces, set­ting up block­ades in the city,” the Ta­mauli­pas Co­or­di­na­tion Group said.

“Up to now, three armed civil­ians are re­ported dead, and two mem­bers of the Ta­mauli­pas Force were wounded in the at­tacks,” it said.

The city’s mayor said the gun bat­tles be­gan around noon. Au­thor­i­ties said fed­eral and state force re­took con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion at 6:00 p.m.

One of the fed­eral of­fi­cials said the gang burned sev­eral ve­hi­cles to ter­ror­ize the pop­u­la­tion and dis­tract po­lice forces.

“There’s ob­vi­ously re­sis­tance that emerges when peo­ple of this na­ture are ar­rested,” Reynosa Mayor Jose Elias Leal told Ra­dio For­mula, adding that he ex­pected the sit­u­a­tion to calm down overnight.

The city gov­ern­ment is­sued a “red light” alert on Twit­ter, urg­ing res­i­dents to avoid some ar­eas.

The lo­cal daily El Manana re­ported that two U.S.-Mex­ico bor- der cross­ings were closed.

In a sep­a­rate op­er­a­tion fur­ther west along the bor­der, fed­eral forces de­tained the sus­pected leader of the Juarez drug car­tel, Je­sus Salas Aguayo, alias “El Chuyin,” in Chi­huahua state, an of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve he suc­ceeded Vi­cente Car­rillo Fuentes, alias “El Viceroy,” who was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber.


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