Roadways littered with burning tires and road spikes and some streets completely blocked by trucks and buses greeted some residents of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Wednesday morning.
Streets were blocked by members of the Gulf Cartel in response to the recent arrest of one of their leaders.
The Reynosa highway to Río Bravo and the Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard near the Nuevo Amanecer neighborhood were among the affected areas, and hundreds of maquiladora workers arrived at work late at nearby industrial parks.
Civil Protection officers and firefighters were dispatched to the scenes to maintain order and extinguish the fires.
The blockades occurred as Governor Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca was swearing in a new military commander, Brigadier General Pablo Alberto Lechuga Horta.
State Public Security spokesman Luis Alberto Rodríguez assured the newspaper Infobae that the timing was coincidental. “There is no relationship,” he stated.
Rodríguez said “there were no reports of aggression, clashes or detonations in Reynosa at the time the blockades were reported.”
The show of force by the cartel was more likely an act of revenge as criminals and authorities are locked in a tit-for-tat battle for control of Reynosa’s streets.
The cartel leader who was arrested ordered that the city’s video surveillance cameras be destroyed on August 27, a day before President López Obrador’s visit to the border town.
The gangsters used trucks and stolen SUVs to knock down 12 lampposts to which the cameras were mounted.
That action may have been in response to recent police raids on Gulf Cartel subjects which resulted in several major seizures of property and sent cartel members on the run.
In Reynosa, both sides spy on each other. In 2019, state Police removed 62 cartel surveillance cameras disguised as payphones, electric meters and streetlights.
Reynosa is a point of contention between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas and violent encounters between the two criminal organizations and authorities occur on a regular basis.
The U.S. Department of States Overseas Security Advisory Council called the situation in Reynosa “consistently violent and pretty dire,” in a report issued on June 24. “Rolling gun battles between police elements and transnational criminal organizations occur daily in Reynosa,” the report stated, adding that although crime in Tamaulipas, in Reynosa violence remains elevated.