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Cartel Chronicles: Despite Setbacks, Gulf Cartel Continues to Operate

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the Gulf Cartel if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by Reynosa’s “AC Del Angel.”

REYNOSA, Tamaulipas—Despite several blows carried out against organized crime along this border region, the Gulf Cartel continues recruiting people and operating within this city and the neighboring areas as well.

One strategy the Gulf Cartel has been using reveals a partnership of sorts with people that work for and run car dealerships. The narcotics traffickers mostly use the businesses to provide and to hide vehicles.

Gulf Cartel vehicles seized by Mexican authorities in the border city of Reynosa

Gulf Cartel vehicles seized by Mexican authorities in the border city of Reynosa

One of the most devastating blows to the Gulf Cartel this year in Tamaulipas took place with the arrest of the cartel boss known as “El Gafe,” José Tiburcio Hernández Fuentes, who was captured last April in one of the bloodiest battles fought against the criminal syndicate locally.

As Breitbart Texas previously reported, about 60 Gulf Cartel gunmen set off several gun battles and blocked off multiple streets that day in an attempt to rescue their boss.

The underlings of El Gafe Hernandez have taken control of various aspects of the day-to-day operations since the arrest of their boss, while the actual command of the Reynosa faction of the Gulf Cartel remains under Julian Manuel “Comandante Toro” Loisa Salinas.

Gulf Cartel Commander Toro

Gulf Cartel Commander Toro

After El Gafe’s capture, authorities carrying out an in-depth investigation located multiple collaborators and some stash houses, which they seized and captured last week during a raid carried out by a state and federal taskforce known as the Fuerza Tamaulipas. Authorities captured two close associates that worked as bookkeepers for the cartel, seized weapons and vehicles, some of them with Level 5 armor.

Gulf Cartel stashouse raided by authorities

Gulf Cartel stashouse raided by authorities

Authorities arrested Miguel Angel Cuellar Meza and Juan Antonio Orona Morales; the two were identified as “accountants” who worked in worked in the cartel’s logistics and in the acquisition of vehicles under false identities. These fully equipped armored vehicles subsequently were provided to the relatives of the commanders who control Gafe’s group. The purchases were made in various car dealerships.

Gulf Cartel armored vehicles and weapons

Gulf Cartel armored vehicles and weapons

The security operation that has weakened the Gulf Cartel faction once controlled by El Gafe has not reduced crime in the area since the criminal organization constantly recruits new collaborators hungry for the opportunity to climb up the ranks.

In a steady fashion, it is expected that some of the local population will end joining the ranks of the Gulf Cartel, as the criminal group would be an economically attractive option in a state where options for legal work are in decline due to the high levels of insecurity.

Weapons seized during raid

Weapons seized during raid

In Reynosa, the Gulf Cartel has been able to hide its fleet of vehicles through a clandestine agreement between criminals and the staff at car dealerships. The vehicles are entered into the dealerships garage with a maintenance order and then hidden within the vehicles there every day.

The public sentiment in this city is that the distant hope that new federal and state security strategy can finally bring back peace to the border state of Tamaulipas that for more than five years has been held hostage by criminal organizations.

A culture of legality must be implemented by both the government and the city’s citizens in order to recover lost spaces; spaces where, after years under cartel control, no longer have boundaries between legality and crime.

EN ESPANOL

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