A series of violent shootouts in Reynosa, Mexico near the Texas border have reportedly left at least 17 dead. The deaths were allegedly the result of infighting between Gulf Cartel members.
Ildefonso Ortiz of the McAllen Monitor reported that numerous grenade launchers, armored vehicles, and 76 assault rifles were confiscated from three home raids near the deadly scene.
At least 13 gunmen, two officers, and two civilians allegedly died as a result of the clashes–but the actual death toll may be even higher.
Several raids on nearby properties after a series of deadly shootings allegedly revealed massive amounts of contraband and weapons.
One home, raided by Mexican police on the night of the 29th, contained 22 assault rifles, four grenades, six pounds of meth, and countless packages of cocaine, The Monitor reported. During another home raid, officers reportedly encountered gunmen. While the armed cartel members successfully fled the scene, police confiscated several armored trucks, three grenades, 19 assault rifles, and a large stash of marijuana.
During a third home raid on April 30, a dead body was apparently found inside a car on the property. Weapons and grenades were also allegedly found at the scene. Reports state that later that day, officers found over 2,000 ammunition rounds in an abandoned vehicle that also contained 25 rifles.
Local officials believe that the fights were likely fueled by “El Paquito,” a Mexican crime boss who fell out of favor with Los Metros, a large section of the Gulf Cartel. The Monitor reported that an unnamed source said “there were several other clashes between suspected drug cartel members prior to the firefights with law enforcement.”
The first clash happened on Tuesday, when numerous gunmen loyal to El Paquito clashed with another group thought to be associated with Los Metros. When authorities arrived on the scene, the shootouts only got worse, according to reports.
The second deadly incident reportedly occurred just west in a neighborhood called Aquiles Serdán. There, Mexican soldiers allegedly fought with a group of six gunmen.
A human rights investigation is reportedly underway to look into the shooting of civilians. One of those fatally shot was a 22-year-old woman who was driving with a family member at the time. The other was a 24-year-old unidentified man. Several others were shot, but did not die. One such victim was reportedly a junior high school student who was shot in the head.
Tamaulipas, the Mexican state where the most recent shootouts occurred, has “always been a focal point in the drug war, one of the busiest places on the border for northbound drugs and migrants and southbound weapons and cash,” according to the Associated Press. Reynosa, which is in the northern part of Tamaulipas, is directly across the Rio Grande River from Hidalgo, Texas.
According to the AP, more immigrants enter the U.S. illegally from Tamaulipas than from anywhere else along the border; this makes the Mexican state attractive to drug traffickers, smugglers, and cartel members. U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela told the AP, “The fact is right now the federal government response in Tamaulipas is nowhere near what it needs to be.”
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