MCALLEN, Texas — Suspected cartel hitmen gunned down the top federal law enforcement official in charge of the northern part of the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.
More than 100 shots were fired by gunmen killing General Ricardo Cesar Nino and his girlfriend near the town of Valecillo, said Nuevo Leon Attorney General Adrian de la Garza Santos in a prepared statement. Nuevo Leon authorities found Nino’s body and that of his girlfriend along the highway connecting Valecillo and Nuevo Laredo on board of a Nissan sedan.
While the murder took place in the state of Nuevo Leon, Nino had been based out of the border city of Nuevo Laredo from where he led the multi agency law enforcement actions in northern Tamaulipas. Nino’s position came following the unveiling of a security strategy by Mexico’s government earlier this year in an effort to slow down the onslaught of drug cartels.
Tamaulipas became a war zone in 2010 when two of the largest drug cartels in the nation, the Gulf Cartel and their former enforcers Los Zetas, both based in Tamaulipas, went to war over lucrative drug trade routes. The fighting between the two crime syndicates kicked up the number of murders, kidnappings and other violent crimes despite the efforts of Tamaulipas officials to minimize and even lie about the violence.
Due to his position Nino regularly traveled in armored vehicles and with bodyguards, however at the time of his murder he was reportedly alone and was not even carrying a weapon, Nuevo Leon’s Attorney General said.
Authorities have not elaborated as to the drug cartel behind the assassination.
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