Twelve members of a cartel hit squad were killed by the army Friday in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, after an early morning attack by armed men dressed in camouflage clothing and traveling in pickups.
The dead were allegedly members of the Tropa del Infierno, or Hell’s Army, the armed wing of the Northeast Cartel, who attacked soldiers while they were patrolling the highway to the airport. No military personnel were reported injured in the shoot-out.
Investigators at the scene recovered two of the squad’s vehicles that were reported stolen in the United States, as well as 12 guns including two Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles and eight AR-15s.
The Northeast Cartel, a faction of Los Zetas, is headed by Juan Gerardo Treviño Chávez, alias El Huevo. A reward of 2 million pesos (US $89,000) has been offered for information leading to his arrest. Treviño is the nephew of the former leader of Los Zetas who was arrested in Houston in 2016.
Hell’s Army first made headlines in August 2019 when one of its members, a 16-year-old boy known as Juanito Pistolas, was killed by Tamaulipas state police in an armed confrontation in which the young man was decapitated by gunfire.
Eleven other alleged Hell’s Army members were also killed in that incident and another the same day, which occurred not long after the hit squad took responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Nuevo Laredo that left one police officer dead and two other people wounded.