Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Law Enforcement Addresses Acuña Violence

Monday, May 10, 2010 |

Del Rio News-Herald

Local, state and federal law enforcement officers say they are aware of recent violence in Ciudad Acuña, Coah., Mexico, and are prepared should it cross over.

Del Rio Police Department Chief Arnaldo Ramos stressed that very little of the information about the violence in Mexico can be confirmed directly by law enforcement officials on this side of the Rio Grande.

“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 in an interview with the Del Rio News-Herald Friday.

Ramos said the violence remains confined to Mexico.

“As of right now, the violence is not ‘spilling over.’ Most of everything that’s taking place is taking place in Mexico,” Ramos said.

The police chief, though, said Del Rioans should stay out of 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.

Ramos added, though, that the DRPD and other law enforcement agencies on this side of the Texas-Mexico border are keeping a close eye on the situation in Mexico, both in Ciudad Acuña and elsewhere.

“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 said.

Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said he, too, is aware of the unfolding situation in Del Rio’s sister city.

“I understand that they’re having problems in Ciudad Acuña, and although none of those have been confirmed, there is apparently some turmoil,” Martinez said.

As for his recommendations for U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico, Martinez said, “It is my opinion that our citizens need to be advised of the situation in Acuña, and if they have to travel to Acuña, to exercise caution.”

Martinez added, “All local law enforcement agencies have a contingency plan in place to deal with any spillover violence.”

Texas Department of Public Safety and Department of Homeland Security officials said Friday both agencies are ready to assist the local officers.

DPS spokesman Trooper Jose Chavarria said officers have stepped up patrols in known “areas of interest”, but did not say where those areas might be.

“Our department is trying to be more vigilant,” said 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.

Mark Qualia, a spokesman with the United States Border Patrol in Washington D.C., said they, too, are ready to assist on the front lines when needed. Qualia said the interagency assistance is nothing new.

“If you look at the interagency cooperation that’s been going on…we’re already out there backing up local officers,” said Qualia.

DHS has also provided funding opportunities to help local agencies cover overtime pay and equipment for officers.

“We are very much in tune with what’s going on and we are using every asset available to make our communities safer,” said Qualia.

Qualia declined to say whether more agents would be coming to Del Rio because of the recent violence, noting that decision is made based on gathered intelligence and typically is not released to the public.

He also said it would be difficult to gauge if there would be spillover violence.

“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.”

Del Rio Police Department Chief Arnaldo Ramos stressed that very little of the information about the violence in Mexico can be confirmed directly by law enforcement officials on this side of the Rio Grande.

“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 in an interview with the Del Rio News-Herald Friday.

Ramos said the violence remains confined to Mexico.

“As of right now, the violence is not ‘spilling over.’ Most of everything that’s taking place is taking place in Mexico,” Ramos said.

The police chief, though, said Del Rioans should stay out of 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.

Ramos added, though, that the DRPD and other law enforcement agencies on this side of the Texas-Mexico border are keeping a close eye on the situation in Mexico, both in Ciudad Acuña and elsewhere.

“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 said.

Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said he, too, is aware of the unfolding situation in Del Rio’s sister city.

“I understand that they’re having problems in Ciudad Acuña, and although none of those have been confirmed, there is apparently some turmoil,” Martinez said.

As for his recommendations for U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico, Martinez said, “It is my opinion that our citizens need to be advised of the situation in Acuña, and if they have to travel to Acuña, to exercise caution.”

Martinez added, “All local law enforcement agencies have a contingency plan in place to deal with any spillover violence.”

Texas Department of Public Safety and Department of Homeland Security officials said Friday both agencies are ready to assist the local officers.

DPS spokesman Trooper Jose Chavarria said officers have stepped up patrols in known “areas of interest”, but did not say where those areas might be.

“Our department is trying to be more vigilant,” said 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.

Mark Qualia, a spokesman with the United States Border Patrol in Washington D.C., said they, too, are ready to assist on the front lines when needed. Qualia said the interagency assistance is nothing new.

“If you look at the interagency cooperation that’s been going on…we’re already out there backing up local officers,” said Qualia.

DHS has also provided funding opportunities to help local agencies cover overtime pay and equipment for officers.

“We are very much in tune with what’s going on and we are using every asset available to make our communities safer,” said Qualia.

Qualia declined to say whether more agents would be coming to Del Rio because of the recent violence, noting that decision is made based on gathered intelligence and typically is not released to the public.

He also said it would be difficult to gauge if there would be spillover violence.

“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.”

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25 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

the fear is palpable! I have a family group of friends who are prisoners in their own house. They sleep on the floor due to the continuous street battles. The children no longer go to school and stay home with the mother at all times of the day and night. The father still goes to work but sometimes due to the street shootings misses a day from time to time. The oldest teenage daughter keeps in touch with the outside world with cell phone calls and twitter. she has nightmares from the stories she gets from personal friends about the kidnapping's rape's and murders of the young girls. i am not talking about some poverty stricken third world country dirt floor family. they have a big screen tv cell phones two cars etc etc. dad makes a good living mom does not have to work the children go to private school or did till the teachers started telling students to use floor mats to do school work. "sitting in desks you might get hit by a stray round".

Bob Decker said...

Love the website, but the May 10 posting of the Del Rio Herald article was posted on your site previously and this posting is misleading. New visitors might think this is today's news. You've already posted photos and some great information over the weekend. No reason to re-post this 'unconfirmed rumor' story.

Will be in Acuna and visiting with teachers and families tomorrow. I was there two weeks ago and return every two weeks.

Anonymous said...

that is ot true, not a single shootout has taken place in acuña mexico , i live here, please be honest.

Anonymous said...

not 100% true

Anonymous said...

Once Again do not generalize, Acuna is one of the cities that has had THREE isolated incidents, other than that there are 99 rumors for every one verifiable event.

The Truth is plain and simple, violent acts in Acuna have only involved people directly or indirectly linked to the US Drug supply.

So the ONLY reason we should NOT go to Acuna is if we are involved in the drug trade. If you are not in this business than you have nothing to fear.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the information published for all to read? I'm sure that there are people telling what is happening, why isn't it put out there to tell what is actually happening. If the war information can be published why isn't Mexico's information put in the news?

Anonymous said...

I live in Del Rio. I have law enforcement friends and relatives here and in Acuna. What seems to bother the hard working families on both sides of the border is the the news media here in the US that refues to report the current news.If,DR, had real investigative reporters like the have in parts of Mexico we could see what all the problems are here and in Acuna.
What all law enforcement in Del Rio will not admit is that, during the last decade and moreso in the last few years, is the movemennt of narcos to Del Rio. They are buying homes and businesses here.In some instances, when they are asked WHY? They respond with "It's to dangerous in Acuna". Well, my friends, these people are bringing the danger with them to your neighborhood! No spillover, remember the Lobato killing!

Anonymous said...

Ciudad Acuña is still a safe town, we commute
back and forth to and from Del Rio. What is going on 90% are rumors except for the 2 buildings that were burnt and a corrupted police chief who was involved with a Cartel, this happens everywhere in the world, it can happen in Del Rio. Del Rioans make things big in order to keep clients from coming across.

Anonymous said...

“As of right now, the violence is not ‘spilling over.’ Most of everything that’s taking place is taking place in Mexico,” Ramos said.

What's been "spilling over" for quite some time is the deadly machine guns from the US to Mexico, but that doesn't matter or does it?

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that our two cities are interdependent, from the thousands of middle to upper management personell that live in Del Rio and commute everyday to Acuna to work, to the thousands of Acuna residents that spend almost 35% of their hard earned income at Walmart, HEB, Home Depot, Plaza del Sol Mall, Local Gas stations and Numerous other business.

Lets not let rumors and a "rotten few" ruin our two cities rich history of friendship and econmic reciprocity.

Anonymous said...

Honestly...you people saying it is safe to go across to Acuna...IT IS NOT! Law enforcement is not going to tell you the whole story....neither will any paper here as everyone is too busy worrying about the affect it will have with trade between the two cities!! I mean please...we know where terrorist in the deserts of Afghanistan are but can`t confirm the murder of the chief of police 2 miles from us???? Shame on all of you and our Government for not letting people know before it was not safe!!

To those of you who say if you are not in the drug trade you have nothing to worry about!! Get your head out of your...the sand!! Is that why people at soccer games who have no ties to the drug trade were randomly shot?? And that is not the only innocent people shot in Mexico by this new drug gang! They are not like the old drug cartels who would not hurt innocent people as long as you turned your head and kept your mouth shut...they have NO REGARD FOR ANYONE!! Wise up!!!

Anonymous said...

viva acuna and viva del rio

Marshall said...

I am thinking soon enough that we will run out of drug people and Mexico will look like Iran in the sense it has no age from 30-45. Iran fought and 8 Year war with Iraq and literally wiped out a generation of men with this war. This is going to be the same thing in Mexico they will eventually kill off the whole generation of men between the ages of 18-35. In my opinion good riddens any generation that will follow this trend needs to done away with of the good of the society as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Wow they killed people at a soccer game in Acuna!!!! that is incredible!!!! and also NOT TRUE.

Anonymous said...

I go to mexico alot and there is no violence i go party every thurs. fri. and sat. and have never seen anything. have family in mexico and they dont lock themselves in their homes. i believe if you're looking for trouble you will find it but thats everywhere. i live in del rio and what people say are all rumors. will go to mexico this weekend.

Anonymous said...

well you people that love acuna so much why dont yall go live over there and stay the hell out of my texas.Acuna is a war zone and it is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I have a ranch between Brackettville and Del Rio and the last three times I went over there I was frisked by the Mexican Millitary. These soldiers are barely 18 with locked and loaded AK47's. If someone sneezes they might get hailed with bullets. I think I will stay out of Acuna and Del Rio for that matter. Too many people on the take with these cartels. You don't know who to trust down there!!!

Anonymous said...

As a resident businessman of Del Rio for over 47 years,I can tell you that the Acuna police chief was gunned down last week. Acuna businesses are asked to play ball with the Zetas or their businesses will be burned down, as has happened several times and last week, 13 pickup trucks were stolen at gunpoint. I have seen the pictures of mutilated people from acuna, victims of the power struggle and the tourist are gone. All of my friends, with the exception of the Acuna Chamber of Commerce, tell me not to go and to tell my family not to go. I have spoken to several of the people who have been kidnapped and extorted of their money and properties. They have no ties to any cartell. Only hard working business people. When someone sells a house or property, the Zetas know who they are and are victims. The ranchers are told," don't put a lock on your gate or we will knock the gate down". The acuna Chamber is in denial. These people that say that Acuna is safe, good luck and don't call for help! Get real!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

look at the US 2009 cartel map and you will find a big black dot for acuna and del rio both. Even on this website there are maps if you click on the tab you can see which cartels are where in the US. Acuña is not safe-free any longer...and if you people do not get your head out your fannies and acknowledge the truth our country will not be pressured to help Mexico as we did Colombia in their drug war victory..you help no one being blinded by rejection of the truth and passing on ignorant lies

Anonymous said...

oh my god seriously mexico is bad right now wish it was like it used to be a few years back when i used to go all the time until these retarded ass drug cartels wanted to play billy bad ass and start murdering innocent people i mean wow arent they awsome lol what a joke and anyone who supports this non sense should get the hell out of our country and join those animals but in all realness if they ever messed with the u.s we would smash them to the ground and would never let them back up mexico is worthless in every aspect that you can imagine thank god i left del rio because that little crap hole town is just worthless and litterly offers nothing good just straight up trouble everyone there wants to be a bad ass you cant even go to a bar and feel safe there cause you look at someone by accident that starts a conflict and noone there ever fights alone bunch loser cowards i hope we go to war with mexico so we can finally give them the ass beaten that they deserve

Anonymous said...

I am planning on going to Acuna to visit as I normally would. I am planning on shopping, eating, and enjoying a few beers. This time though it will be a little different, I am going on a trip with nine other men. We are not going to cause any problems. But we will all be heavily armed. If any problem arise we will be fully capable of defending ourselves. Just as Texans crossed the border from 1830-1900 we will also ready for full combat if that problem presents itself. God have mercy on the souls of ANYONE who should try and compromise our safety and ability to travel and have a nice time! This includes any corrupt individuals on either side of the law. Humans should not be held or forced to live in this nonsense because of corruption. Justice will prevail above evil men in any country provided one has the means and will to protect oneself. Other than that I hope everything remains silent and we have a great visit as we have many times accross the border.

Anonymous said...

That's horrible! They r in my prayers! I'm going to acuna this winter and im scared!

Anonymous said...

Really? .. I'm going to acuna this winter is it safe if not so safe?

Anonymous said...

YAAAH I'M GONNA LIVE THANK U SO MUCH!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is planning to travel to Acuna to see her boyfriend. She is an inexperience traveler and 20 years old. He assures me it is totally safe. Has the situation changed? Is it safe?

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