Cartel Chronicles: A Week In Reynosa — Shootout near Texas Border; Pursuits and Terror

Mexican Helicopter

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 – A shootout  between cartel gunmen and Mexican authorities earlier in February caused panic and terror near the Texas border.

The shootout began when federal police tried to stop a vehicle near 20th street which then fled and ended up crashing into an unsuspecting motorist. Federal police officers guarded the crashed vehicle and set up a search for the drivers. The pursuit ended with a civilian injured in the crash and two gunmen in custody.

Soon after, along the highway that connects Rio Bravo and Reynosa, rival cartel gunmen clashed as three vehicles with gunmen took part in a rolling shootout. The shootout between cartel gunmen lasted for more than 15 minutes. The Mexican military arrived and set off a series of pursuits and shootouts.

The rolling shootout between cartel gunmen and authorities ended up right outside of the Autonomous University in Tamaulipas (UAT) in the Arcoiris neighborhood. There the shootout continued for several minutes. The shootouts spread to the Juarez, Maestro, Mexico and La Joya neighborhoods.  A truck rifled with bullet-holes was abandoned along the Matamoros-Monterrey highway in the city’s south side.

Another pursuit and shootout took place in the Americo Villarreal neighborhood. As a result of the shootout, gunmen set up a blockade along the Rio Bravo-Reynosa highway in an effort to keep military reinforcements from rushing to the scene of the shootout.

The search operation by authorities soon spread to the entire south side of the city and the military called on a helicopter to help hunt down the gunmen that had fled.

Four gunmen died in the shootout which appears to be yet another chapter in the struggle betwee rival Gulf Cartel groups called Los Metros and Los Ciclones.

The Tamaulipas border is undergoing a deterioration of its security conditions. These have worsened this month. Just one day prior, the city of Miguel Aleman saw a shootout between gunmen and the military.

In a similar incident the week before in the city of Matamoros, the police group Fuerza Tamaulipas arrested the leader of a group of cartel hit men named Fernando Vasquez along with 10 of his men. They also seized 9 vehicles, 50 ammunition magazines and 663 ammunition rounds.

The infighting within the criminal organization known as the Gulf Cartel (CDG) that have created instability along the Tamaulipas border due to the violence in recent days has forced the state to react in an attempt to bring back peace to the region, the recent increase in operation by federal authorities along with the increase in cartel presence as to keep rivals out has yielded some positive results.

Fernando Vasquez had at least 5 security houses and commanded a large network of gunmen and lookouts who were involved in selling stolen fuel, kidnapping, extortion and street level drug trafficking. He has been identified as the person who ordered the kidnapping of the family of a cartel boss named Gafe who is the leader of the Reynosa faction. The kidnapping escalated the conflict between the two factions of the Gulf Cartel one led by El Café with Los Metros in Reynosa and the other led by the El Orejon in Matamoros called Los Ciclones.

The operation that led to the arrest took place in downtown Matamoros, the same day that the city saw cartel blockades in the highway that connects the rural cities of  Valle Hermoso to Rio Bravo near the Santa Apolonia town. The highway that connects Reynosa and Matamoros has also been the stage of cartel blockades and firefights in recent weeks despite the presence of Mexican authorities.

Life in this area was shaken by this new war which reignited increase in violence and has kept residents in a self-imposed curfew in order to keep them out of danger.