Editor’s notes: Just hours after saying that a group of approximately 150 cartel gunmen illegally snuck into Texas through a series of dirt roads and over the border river before crossing back into Mexico to attack a rural community for a shootout that killed at least 23, the governor of Coahuila is now walking back his statement, claiming the gunmen did not cross the international boundary.
On Tuesday afternoon, Coahuila Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme reversed his verbal statements issued hours earlier, where he said gunmen from the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) faction of Los Zetas entered Texas as they made their way from Nuevo Laredo to Coahuila.
“What I said was that our territory is vast in our borders with Texas, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, a part where there is nothing but desert, where it is unknown whose limits they are, that is where they tried to go around to enter the ranches and enter directly to Villa Union,” Riquelme was quoted by El Norte. “It doesn’t mean that they crossed the river or that they entered the U.S.”
The reversal comes after his statements caused an uproar about cartel gunmen temporarily crossing into Texas. El Norte and Reforma news agency published the original statement where Riquelme said, “They go around through the U.S. part and they enter directly to the ranches in Coahuila towards Villa Union.”
“Ellos van y rodean por la parte de Estados Unidos y se meten directamente por los ranchos de Coahuila hacia Villa Unión” dijo Miguel Riquelme. https://t.co/cHdisE9adB
— EL NORTE (@elnorte) December 3, 2019
Their subsequent report.
— EL NORTE (@elnorte) December 3, 2019
ORIGINAL REPORT BELOW
The Governor of Coahuila, a Mexican state bordering Texas, revealed that approximately 150 cartel gunmen illegally snuck into Texas through dirt roads and the border river as they made their way to the Mexican town of Villa Union for an hours-long shootout that killed 23 individuals–including four cops and two firefighters.
Coahuila Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme revealed that state authorities arrested two gunmen from the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) faction of Los Zetas who disclosed their convoy consisted of approximately 25 SUVs carrying at least six shooters apiece, Zocalo reported. The gunmen took various dirt roads as they made their way to Villa Union, where they fired repeatedly at the city hall building, torched police cars, and then engaged authorities in a fierce gun battle.
In a series of statements made by Riquelme, the politician claimed that as the gunmen traveled through dirt roads from the border city of Nuevo Laredo, they planned to burn buildings and terrorize the community. According to El Norte, the publication spoke with a government spokesman who confirmed the information from the captured gunmen who said the convoy briefly crossed into Texas before engaging in targets back in Mexico.
The official revelation is the first of kind where cartel gunmen crossed into Texas before carrying out a series of attacks. Certain portions of the Rio Grande are shallow enough to allow a four-wheel drive vehicle to cross even without deploying a makeshift bridge. Officials did not specify the means of crossing in this case. As Breitbart Texas reported, four police officers and seven to 10 gunmen died in the initial shootout, with at least seven more dying hours following the incident. Information released since then revealed that the gunmen kidnapped various locals as they fled Villa Union, including two firefighters whose dead bodies were later recovered.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ 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.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.