MCALLEN, Texas — A recent rash of gunfights just south of the Texas border points to an internal conflict within factions of the Gulf Cartel over control of lucrative riverside real estate.
Mexican authorities have not released information on the number of casualties in the most recent shootout on Thursday; however, Tamaulipas law enforcement sources confirmed to Breitbart Texas that shortly after 8 AM, they began responding to various blockades along rural roads and city streets set up by cartel gunmen in the border city of Rio Bravo, just south of Donna, Texas. Minutes later, authorities also had to respond to blockades at the highway between Rio Bravo and the industrial border city of Reynosa.
For the blockades, cartel gunmen hijacked buses, tractor trailers, and cars that they parked across the streets in an effort to slow down the Mexican military, a Tamaulipas law enforcement official told Breitbart Texas under conditions of anonymity, citing security reasons.
“They will try anything to slow us down: blockades, road spikes, setting vehicles on fire, everything,” the official said in Spanish. “They have been fighting for weeks over vendettas and trying to take over the area.”
The clashes resulted in the shooting deaths of five gunmen on Tuesday at the hands of their rivals in Nuevo Progreso. Another gunman was killed in the nearby town of Valle Hermoso, when a cartel of hitmen tried to ambush a convoy of Mexican Marines.
Nuevo Progreso is a small town just across the border from Progreso, Texas, frequented by winter tourists looking for cheaper medicine, medical treatment, and liquor.
The Mexican official expects the cartels’ infighting to continue because the various factions of the Gulf Cartel are fighting for control.
“After the arrest of Juan Perros (former cartel boss Juan Rodriguez, who has been nicknamed Perros, the Spanish word for dogs), the smaller ‘comandantes’ started to fight, bringing up old grudges,” the Tamaulipas official said.
The Gulf Cartel has been involved in an internal struggle over control of the organization since 2010, while at the same time fighting with its former enforcers, the Zetas. This has resulted in brutal hours of firefights, where gunmen used convoys of armored vehicles, grenades, and automatic weapons just south of the Texas border.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz @ildefonsoortiz.