Tamaulipas Requesting Federal Assistance Against Cartel Violence Surge
NUEVO LAREDO, Tamaulipas – Tamaulipas, the Mexican state bordering Texas, is asking their federal government for help securing the safety of residents.
The governor of the state sent and published a letter to the president of Mexico.
On Wednesday, the president responded noting the violent night Nuevo Laredo woke up to Wednesday morning.
Five suspected cartel members in Nuevo Laredo were killed Tuesday night.
They were wearing marine or military uniforms and riding trucks that are frequently seen as part of convoys.
The violence started last Thursday around 3 a.m. when cartel operatives fired upon the Santa Teresa Hotel where they were aiming for the state police officers assigned to that area.
One officer died in the attack.
On Tuesday, mid-afternoon, a special ops team with the state of Tamaulipas opened fire on a truck carrying seven suspected cartel members in military fatigues.
A state-issued press release stated they were part of the attack that killed the state police officer.
Later Tuesday evening, four shootings throughout the city of Nuevo Laredo including at a military post, an airport and a gas station left five suspected cartel members dead.
In total, 12 people died and two members of the state police were injured that day.
The attacks are becoming more and more common.
Carmen Martinez, interviewed by KGNS-TV, said she was near one of the shootings Tuesday night.
"Yesterday (we were) by the bridge, 'Los Aguacates'. We were going to a place that sells menudo, but I told my husband we should go to an old neighborhood where his relative lived. Then the road was blocked and the shooting started. But why should we be afraid? God decides if a bullet will strike us; that can happen anywhere. Death can reach us at any time," she reasons.
The city bears witness to the frequent convoys which are part of the Cartel del Noreste.
"You have an asymmetrical threat where the cartel is almost stronger than the government, and that's what's really happening," says Art Fontes, former FBI agent and CEO of Fontes International Solutions. "You have these monster vehicles heavily fortified armored with barracks and high-caliber guns even stronger than the military and this group is just getting so big.”
The governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco Cabeza de Vaca, sent a letter to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador where he described the situation as a "race against time."
The letter stated the recent violent incursions are trying to lay claim to territory and smuggling routes.
President Obrador responded Wednesday morning in a press conference saying, "Tomorrow they will be meeting with the Secretary of Public Safety and Secretary of Defense."
Specifically, Cabeza de Vaca is requesting more members of the National Guard.
Obrador says they will be planning a coordinated effort but their styles vary, cautions Fontes.
"The state police has taken this very aggressive approach toward the cartel, and the federal government, their strategy is more peace and dialogue with the cartel,” said Fontes.
Meanwhile, residents are caught in the middle of these disputes longing for better days.
Roberto Pacheco told KGNS-TV in an interview, "Yes, we hope the situation changes soon with the federal government. We hope that this situation with the National Guard helps Nuevo Laredo so it can go back to being a peaceful city."
Tamaulipas heads of agencies and the governor held a meeting Wednesday.
They anticipate another meeting with the federal government on Thursday.