Friday, December 1, 2023

Security emergency following arrest in Nuevo Laredo led to US Consulate and school closures

An outbreak of gun violence in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, forced schools, public transport and the United States Consulate to suspend operations on Monday morning.

In a post to Facebook shortly after 6 a.m. Central Time, Mayor Carmen Lilia Canturosas reported “a risk situation at different points of the city” due to gunfire that reportedly began at around 4 a.m. Shots can be heard ringing out in several videos posted to social media.

President López Obrador told his regular news conference that the violence followed the arrest of an organized crime leader, who was subsequently transferred to Mexico City. There were no reports of injuries or deaths due to the violence, in which the military reportedly clashed with cartel members.

The detained suspect is reportedly a leader of the Northeast Cartel, which operates in Tamaulipas and the neighboring state of Nuevo León. López Obrador said there is evidence that he is responsible for “other violent incidents in the area.”

Canturosas initially said that education authorities decided that schools wouldn’t open until 9 a.m., but subsequently said that primary and middle school classes had been suspended for the day “to take care of the safety of the student community and all teaching personnel.”

A local transport association reported early Monday that bus service had been suspended, but service had been restored on several routes by midmorning.

The U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo said on Twitter just after 6 a.m. that there was an “emergency situation” in the border city opposite Laredo, Texas, “following an arrest operation.”

“Reports of gunfire in multiple locations in the city. Shelter in place and standby for further information,” it said.

The consulate said in another post that it would contact people with appointments on Monday to reschedule them. It said at 9.20 a.m. that “the situation has begun to normalize” but added that “it is recommended to continue to shelter in place and standby for further information.”

The Nuevo Laredo mayor posted a similar message to Facebook. Mexican cartels frequently respond to the arrest of leaders with violence and narco-blockades, a tactic that can hinder ongoing security operations and even pressure authorities to release recently detained suspects.

The consulate announced the shelter in place order had been lifted around 1:30 p.m. local time.

Ovidio Guzmán López, son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, was released shortly after he was arrested in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in October 2019 when the Sinaloa Cartel responded to his detention with a wave of attacks that terrorized residents of the northern city.

With reports from Infobae

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