Saturday, May 8, 2010
Ciudad Acuña Under Seige
Image of Coahuila state police comandante Froylan Collazo Badillo assasinated by Zeta gunmen in Ciudad Acuña. The narcomessage reads "esto va para todos los que siguen hablando o andan con el "10" traidor y esto va para las 3 autoridades."
This goes to all those who continue to cooperate with the traitor "10" (codename for a cartel member). This also goes out to all law enforcement.
The cartel war between the Nueva Federacion (CDG, la Familia, Sinaloa) and the Zetas over the border crossing of Ciudad Acuña in the state of Coahuila is now holding the population of this city hostage.
Ciudad Acuña, commonly referred to as simply “Acuña” was together with Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, the last Zeta stronghold on the Texas-Mexico border.
Borderland Beat reported earlier this week on the crisis in Acuña, “Storm over Coahuila”.
Although the print and radio media in Acuña refuse to report on the current situation, an increasingly clear picture is emerging from Spanish language blogs, Saltillo, Coahuila newspapers and the Del Rio News Herald.
The latest upsurge in violence began early Friday morning with the assassination in Acuña of a state police comandante for the northern sector of Coahuila, Froylan Collazo Badillo. The Comandante’s body, which had 18 gunshot wounds, was found outside of one of the Dulceria Begu warehouses burned out as a result of arson earlier in the week.
According to Mexican press reports comandante Collazo was killed by members of the Zeta cartel for refusing to cooperate with them. Sources in Coahuila, however, state that the comandante was protecting el”10”, a drug trafficker who was previously known as “Zeta 10” and had changed over to the Nueva Federacion.
Unconfirmed reports state that up to 100 gunmen belonging to the Nueva Federacion have arrived in Acuña and are in the process of eliminating the Zetas from the city. Banners proclaiming “bienvenido Chapo” are said to have been hung Friday on the outskirts of town.
There have been tense standoffs between the army and state police forces reinforcing their headquarters on the one hand and large convoys of unidentified gunmen.
There are again unconfirmed reports of a shootout outside of the military base in Acuña with 3 fatalities.
Within this lethal reality lives the population of Acuña . Sources state that the people are virtual prisoners in their homes. Most business are closed and that most telling of all, the schools were closed yesterday, Friday.
There was news coming out of the U.S. side of the border from Del Rio, Texas.
Del Rio Police Chief Arnaldo Ramos was interviewed in today’s edition of the Del Rio News Herald.
“What we know – and, again, it hasn’t been confirmed - is that the drug wars between the cartels and the military and the group called the Los Zetas in Mexico have been (going on) all along the border, and now, from what I understand, it’s hitting in Acuña. It’s here,” Ramos said.
“As of right now, the violence is not ‘spilling over.’ Most of everything that’s taking place is taking place in Mexico.”
“I would not recommend citizens to go to Mexico at this time. Like I said, there’s a lot of rumors that haven’t been confirmed, but we do know . . . that there’s a lot of problems between the military and the drug cartels. They’re fighting for the turf, the land. There’s been a lot of murders, abductions, so I wouldn’t recommend anybody from Del Rio or Texas to travel to Mexico unless it’s necessary, and if they do go, to use precaution,” Ramos said.
“We are all aware of the situation. The federal government has enhanced its efforts, as far as patrol. Officer safety-wise, they have advised all the agents and officers to wear their (bulletproof) vests, of course, and to be cautious of any activity along the border,” Ramos added.
Other law enforcement spokesmen in the Del Rio/Val Verde County area were also interviewed by the Del Rio News Herald.
I understand that they’re having problems in Ciudad Acuña, and although none of those have been confirmed, there is apparently some turmoil,” Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said.
Martinez added, “All local law enforcement agencies have a contingency plan in place to deal with any spillover violence.”
“Our department is trying to be more vigilant,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jose Chavarria, noting that troopers are also ready to step in and help local law enforcement when called upon. “We are assisting local agencies with any resources we have, such as air support and additional manpower.”
The DPS has a helicopter stationed in Del Rio to provide air support, said Chavarria, adding that to date, he has heard of no requests for additional troopers in the Del Rio area.
“If you look at the interagency cooperation that’s been going on…we’re already out there backing up local officers,” said Mark Qualia, a spokesman with the United States Border Patrol in Washington D.C., “We are very much in tune with what’s going on and we are using every asset available to make our communities safer.”
“When looking at the border as a whole, there really hasn’t been any spillover violence with regards to what the cartels are doing,” said Qualia. “What’s going on in Mexico is nothing new.”