An early morning shootout on a highway in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas on Wednesday resulted in the military killing seven gunmen presumed to be members of the Northeast Cartel, news sources were reporting.
Mayor Carmen Lilia Canturosas informed her Facebook followers at 5:44 a.m. that she had received reports of the shootout and warnings about potential outbreaks of retaliatory violence throughout the city.
“Attention family,” the 2021 electee wrote. “A few minutes ago, I was informed about SDR [an alert system] in different parts of the city. The situation is now under control [according to] security authorities. However, take precautions and stay alert to avoid incidents.”
The shootout occurred nine days after the Nov. 28 arrest of Heriberto Rodríguez Hernández, alias “El Negrolo,” a leader of the Cártel del Noreste (CDN) accused of being responsible for violence in the city. His apprehension unleashed gunfire and panic in the city of 460,000 that’s directly across the border from Laredo, Texas (population 256,153).
The wave of violence included confrontations, blockades and the burning of vehicles.
The United States has a consulate in the Mexican Nuevo Laredo, and shortly after El Negrolo’s arrest, it “received reports of multiple gunfights throughout the city,” according to a security alert issued by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City on Nov. 28. “Seek secure shelter. Notify friends and family of your safety. Monitor local media for updates,” the alert advised.
“Nuevo Laredo is burning,” read a headline in the blog Borderland Beat the next day.
After more than a week of violence, a battalion of 300 sent by the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) arrived in Nuevo Laredo on Monday, Dec. 5, to reinforce security efforts. But according to one report, they were simply replacing some 350 soldiers who had just left Nuevo Laredo for a military base in Apodaca, Nuevo León.
Over the weekend, the violence subsided a bit, but on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 6, social media users began reporting blasts and gunfire in various parts of the city, prompting authorities to suspend classes for Wednesday.
Early Wednesday, state Secretary of Security Sergio Chávez García reported an attack on the military, with preliminary reports stating that seven civilian gunmen were killed and four vehicles and weapons were seized.
Reports said the incident occurred south of downtown on the Nuevo Laredo-Monterrey highway, which terminates in the north at the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge into the United States.
Local schools released a statement through the Regional Centers for Educational Development (CREDE) that classes for Wednesday had been suspended, “in order to preserve the safety of students, teachers and staff of the educational community,” as stated by César Bolaños Hernández, head of CREDE Nuevo Laredo.
Public transportation, which had been suspended during last week’s violent outbreaks, was suspended again for a few hours Wednesday morning, but then restored with “precautionary measures.”
The Delegation of Public Transport posted on Facebook at 9:43 a.m. that 100% of routes are operational; however some “are experiencing delays and adjustments to their route due to road closures” resulting from security actions.
Additionally, Chávez, the security secretary, advised citizens to “take precautions and stay vigilant” even though it had been reported that the situation was under control.