The Navy came under fire on the weekend in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, leaving six people dead, three of them members of a family caught in the crossfire, and 13 wounded.
Marines had been deployed late Saturday night to arrest Juan Gerardo Treviño Chávez, allegedly a regional leader of the Cartel del Noreste drug gang with close family ties to the founders and leadership of the Zetas criminal organization.
But a group of individuals opened fire on the marines from a moving vehicle, wounding three. One of the attackers died in the confrontation.
Reinforcements were called in but they were attacked with gunfire a mere 600 meters from their headquarters. One Marine was killed and six of his colleagues wounded.
That triggered the deployment of a second group of reinforcements who attended with the backup of a helicopter. But even then the aggressors opened fire.
This time it was innocent bystanders who took the brunt of the gunfire when a family traveling in a pickup truck drove into a hail of bullets. Two girls aged four and six and their 28-year-old mother were killed.
Four marines were wounded.
The Navy Secretariat (Semar) later described the attacks as an ambush.
Semar said it seized three vehicles and fake Navy uniforms.
The weekend’s attacks followed a similar incident in Reynosa last week.
Armed civilians attacked Tamaulipas police in three different incidents, resulting in the death of one of the force’s commanders and a number of injuries.
Today the acting governor of Nuevo León urged the state’s citizens to avoid traveling to Reynosa. Manuel González said residents planning to travel to the United States should avoid using the highway to that city and travel via Nuevo Laredo instead.
He also offered a caution against visiting beaches in Tamaulipas. “. . . today it’s a state that has many problems . . . we ask our citizens to be very careful if they travel [there].”