MCALLEN, Texas – For three days warring factions of the Gulf Cartel have turned a number of cities just south of the Texas border into a warzone that has left at least 14 gunmen dead with the true number of casualties remaining unknown.
The fighting comes after what seemed to have been a short period of peace. Members of the Gulf Cartel have once again taken up arms against each other as they fight for control of the criminal organization. Most of the battles are taking place within miles of the Texas border.
The recent fighting left the residents of the Mexican border cities of Matamoros and Reynosa on edge as large convoys of cartel gunmen raced down the city’s avenues to set up blockades on the main entrances into the respective cities. Over three days the blockades have sporadically exploded into fierce rolling gun battles with convoys of gunmen raining gunfire and explosives on their rivals.
The fighting has been so intense that both the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros and that city’s Mayor Leticia Salazar issued warnings to the public giving some of the locations of the fighting and advising residents to stay indoors.
A Tamaulipas law enforcement official who spoke with Breitbart Texas, but asked to remain anonymous, said the fighting has been primarily along two factions of the Gulf Cartel which are made up of a series of intricate alliances, but can be simplified into the Reynosa and Rio Bravo faction and the Matamoros faction.
The main conflict appears to be between a man named Juan “98” Carrizalez, who along with his second in command, Luis Alberto “El Pelochas” Blanco Flores, leads one of the factions in Rio Bravo versus Angel “Orejon” Prado Rodriguez, who leads the Matamoros faction called the Ciclones, formerly los Escorpiones. Since the Rio Bravo faction has a strong alliance with the Reynosa faction, its enforcement wing, Los Metros, have joined the charge against los Ciclones, the official said.
When the fighting began, the two groups had some clashes in the outskirts of the border cities of Matamoros, Valle Hermoso, Reynosa and Rio Bravo and have continued sporadically with the most intense fighting taking place on Tuesday. While the two warring factions from the Gulf Cartel had multiple shootouts throughout the day, authorities have not provided a complete number of casualties. The Tamaulipas government confirmed to Breitbart Texas that on that day authorities killed 8 gunmen during the clashes and recovered the body of another gunman that had been killed by his rivals.
In the previous shootouts from Sunday, the Tamaulipas government only confirmed that along the highway that connects Valle Hermoso and Matamoros a convoy of Mexican marines came under fire from a group of cartel members in a 2013 Ford pickup with Texas license plates.
The marines fought off the attack killing three gunmen inside the pickup and seizing a grenade launcher, a .50 caliber rifle, four assault rifles, a sub-machine gun, and 40 ammunition magazines.
On Monday in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, police killed two cartel gunmen in the Las Fuentes neighborhood after a firefight with a convoy of gunmen. According to the information that the Tamaulipas government provided to Breitbart Texas, the police officers had responded to an ATM alarm that had been set off. When the police arrived they found a group of gunmen that began firing at police. Officials wouldn’t confirm if the gunmen had been at a roadblock. The police officers fought off the attack killing two and making the rest flee on foot. Authorities seized various trucks and assault rifles.