Feuding factions of the Tamaulipas-based Gulf Cartel have announced they have reached a truce and want the northern border state to live in peace.
The Grupo Scorpion, Grupo Metros and Tampico Grupo Rojo factions made the announcement on professionally printed narco-banners that appeared in public places on Monday in several Tamaulipas cities including Reynosa, Tampico, Matamoros, Río Bravo and Padilla.
The groups have been fighting each other for the past decade in a turf war that has fueled high levels of violence in Tamaulipas. But they reached a ceasefire agreement on July 19, according to their banners.
“We have agreed to a truce of tranquility and we declare our solidarity with the people, and with ideological principles consistent with keeping the peace,” one banner said.
“We also have family. … The primordial thing is for the communities in which we have a presence to feel secure with it, without any worry. … The Gulf Cartel has principles and its highest priority is the tranquility of the state and the wellbeing of the towns. … Long live peace in Tamaulipas.”
State police said that four people were arrested on suspicion of hanging the banners from buildings and overpasses.
The name of a fourth faction of the Gulf Cartel – Los Ciclones (The Cyclones) – didn’t appear on the banners but given that they were hung in Matamoros, where the group is based, it is likely that it is also party to the truce.
The Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office has said that a spate of indiscriminate attacks in Reynosa last month that left 19 people dead were perpetrated by members of the Cyclones and the Scorpions, which is also based in Matamoros.
Prosecutors said the aim of the two factions was to terrorize residents of Reynosa as part of a strategy to challenge the Metros’ long-held sway in the city, located across the border from McAllen, Texas.
Twenty-five people have been arrested in connection with the June 19 rampage in which innocent bystanders including taxi drivers, construction workers, children and a nursing student were killed. Among those detained is Jorge Iván Cárdenas Martínez, a presumed Gulf Cartel plaza chief in Río Bravo.
Splinter groups of the Zetas drug cartel have also been involved in turf wars in recent years in Tamaulipas, a state notorious for violent crime. The state has a 370-kilometer-long border with Texas, making it a lucrative hotspot for the smuggling of drugs and migrants.