Mexican Gulf Cartel Leaders Elude Capture Amid Fierce Gun Battles near Texas Border

Reynosa Shootout
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas and Coahuila 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 various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas 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 — Cartel violence continues to hold its grip in this border region as Mexican authorities try to capture the leadership structure of the Gulf Cartel. The enforcement efforts led to large scale gun battles as cartel gunmen continue to create chaos in an attempt to keep their bosses from getting arrested.

This week, the border cities of Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Matamoros saw their share of shootouts, blockades and casualties as two Gulf Cartel commanders managed to elude capture. In 2014, authorities announced their intent to hunt down the top 15 cartel bosses in Tamaulipas, their eventual capture resulted in further fragmentation of the cartels, therefore authorities have had to refocus their strategy to hunt down the leaders of the various cells within the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. However the lack of coordination between the various military and police forces in Mexico has led to complications.

On Wednesday, Mexico’s Federal Police and the Mexican Army carried out a joint raid at a house in the Lopez Portillo neighborhood in Reynosa. The area is a region controlled by Cleofas Alberto “Wero Cleofas” Martinez Gutierrez. After authorities were not able to find anything a house they raided, they left.

Gulf Cartel stash house

Once that the cartel lookouts known as “halcones” or hawks reported that authorities had left the neighborhood, a convoy of six SUV’s with gunmen known as “Estacas” from Cleofas’ crew returned to the neighborhood. The lookouts missed a truck with Mexican Marines that was in the area. When the Mexican marines spotted the cartel convoy they tried to arrest them, however the gunmen fired at the convoy and tried to flee.

A cartel pickup ended up taking gunfire from the Mexican Marines and crashed along 24th Street. A white Chevrolet Silverado took off along the highway that connects this city with Rio Bravo and was eventually left behind by the fleeing gunmen. Another cartel truck took off towards Rio Purificacion neighborhood while the rest spread out towards various other neighborhoods. Eyewitnesses reported seeing various gunmen getting arrested while others that had been killed during the shootout. Mexican authorities have not released any official information about that shootout.

Reynosa Shootout

The shootout appears to have been the result of a lack of communication between Mexican authorities. Information provided to Breitbart Texas by sources within Mexican authorities revealed that Mexican Marines had been carrying out an operation to capture Wero Cleofas and had been staking out the Lopez Portillo neighborhood where he had been staying at inside a house on Plutarco Elias Calle Street. The capture operation was in fact ruined by the raid that Mexico’s Federal Police and the Mexican Army carried out.

Wero Cleofas is a prime target for Mexican authorities however his capture has taken a personal meaning for those hunting him since the cartel commander is linked to the death of three Marines  on August 18 at the Lopez Portillo neighborhood. A source within the Mexican Navy confirmed to Breitbart Texas that the goal of hunt for Cleofas in not to capture him but to kill him.

Just one day after the shootout in Reynosa on Thanksgiving Day, police officers with the Fuerza Tamaulipas task force came under fire in the border city of Rio Bravo. The cartel gunmen who fired at the police officers were part of the “estacas” or security detail for Armando Daniel “Metro 90 or Comandante Choco” Garcia Leon. During the shootout, Mexican authorities were able to kill two gunmen, however one officer was fatally shot while a second one was wounded.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the shootout turned into chaos as cartel gunmen set up blockades and spread road spikes throughout the city. A second shootout took place shortly after where another police officer lost his life and an innocent bystander was injured.

Rio Bravo Shootout

In response to the raging violence, the Tamaulipas cops called on Mexican federal police, Mexican Marines and the Mexican Army to help hunt down the cartel gunmen. Overnight, a third shootout took place in Rio Bravo where authorities ended up gunning down three cartel hit-men.