Residents of the city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, have been urged to remain in their homes after criminal organizations set off a wave of violence that began last night and triggered a red alert by local officials.
As of early this afternoon the sound of gunfire was still being heard, schools were closing and residents were reporting that vehicles carrying gunmen were circulating freely in some areas of the border city.
Many vehicles were painted with “M42,” a symbol that used to identify Gulf Cartel plaza leader Julián Manuel Loisa Salinas, known as “El Comandante Toro,” who was killed April 22 in a shoot-out with security forces.
Gunfire, blockades and vehicle chases began about 10:00pm yesterday and continued through the night as various criminal cells vying for control of the drug trafficking territory went on the offensive.
Municipal officials issued a red alert at 11:00pm, accompanied by the warning of a “dangerous situation” in the city and urged residents to take caution and remain in their homes or in a safe place, particularly in Villa Florida and Vista Hermosa.
Buses, taxis, semi-trailers and cars were used by gangsters to block streets and inhibit the movement of security forces.
Authorities said forces removed 10 blockades between 11:00pm and two in the morning, and seized nine vehicles, high-powered weapons and ammunition.
San Valentín and Esfuerzo were the areas where much of the gunfire was heard, triggering the closure of schools, from preschool to high school. Some factories wouldn’t allow workers to leave after completing their shift at 11:00pm, fearing for their safety.
Both public and private colleges began suspending classes today.
There have been no reports yet of fatalities.