A gunman with cartel connections shot at various police officers in Laredo, Texas, during a raid. Authorities were able to arrest the teen shooter and several other members of the cell–considered a “nexus” to transnational criminal organizations or drug cartels.
The raids took place this week in various homes in Laredo as part of an ongoing investigation into cartel-connected rip crews, said Laredo Police Chief Claudio Trevino during a news conference. Laredo is immediately north of the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, which continues to be the scene of constant cartel violence. While police did not identify which cartel the Texas cell is affiliated with, Nuevo Laredo is a bastion of the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) faction of Los Zetas.
The case began in 2018 following a home invasion on Comal Loop, Trevino said. The term “home invasion” is commonly used in border cities to describe when teams of gunmen storm homes searching for drugs and cash from other smugglers. Sometimes, those home invasions turn into shootouts between rival drug smugglers and rip crews.
Following information gained from the 2018 home invasion incident, Laredo Police, working with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Texas Department of Public Safety, were able to identify several members of the cell.
According to Trevino, the cartel-connected cell is involved in human smuggling, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and home invasions.
“This is a nexus to international cross-border criminal organizations,” the chief said during the conference.
When SWAT members raided one of the homes on the 2500 block of Monterrey Avenue, a 16-year-old male fired an “assault rifle.” Despite being shot at, police officers did not return fire and were able to arrest the gunman without any injuries.
In four other raids, authorities arrested 21-year-old Steven Byfield, Carlos Ibarra (18), Carlos Daniel Rodriguez (20), and Angel Camero (19). The suspects currently face various criminal charges including aggravated robbery, burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony, and engaging in organized criminal activity. The juvenile is also expected to face additional charges for shooting at police.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.