The day after a confrontation between gunmen and the military left 1 soldier dead and another in serious condition, the streets of Piedras Negras are filled with anxiety and dread. The streets are quiet with little traffic or pedestrians as many citizens chose to stay in their homes. People who must move about are doing so with a heightened sense of awareness.
The appreciation for the Wednesday’s blow against organized crime by the army is still apparent but people are aware that the next confrontation may be much bigger and bloodier. The cartels never surrender a lucrative plaza.
The people here have always being known for their gregarious, proud nature and their very fine cooking, especially the local “carne asada”. It is a city of dancers and singers.
Now it has become a city of rumors and fears. The fears may be well founded. Citizens are saying that the Zetas or whatever other cartel runs this plaza is waiting in the shadows, ready for revenge against the military and the people.
The most terrifying rumor is the one about the children in the schools being a target for reprisals by drug cartel gunmen. This is now a sickening reality as recent events in Tamaulipas show.
Many people here used to say that what happens in other parts of Mexico doesn’t touch Piedras Negras. For the last couple of years or so this has no longer been the case.
Recent investigations by the intelligence branches of the Mexican government have revealed that the drug trafficking corridor into the U.S that goes through Piedras Negras has been growing in importance, and volume, as drug cartel operations in other areas of the border are disrupted by the military and federal police forces
Recent changes in the military garrison located in the city reflect this thinking.
Since the beginning of this week there has been a change in command at the garrison and special operations units have arrived. They have been tasked with locating and eliminating bands of drug traffickers that are primarily made up Zetas. It only took a couple of days for these units to begin their work
Official Dept. of National Defense (SEDENA) press release
MILITARY PERSONNEL REPEL ARMED ASSAULT IN PIEDRAS NEGRAS, COAH."
• Three heavily armed suspects were arrested.
• Unfortunately, a soldier was killed.
Lomas de Sotelo, D.F. on May 27, 2010, The National Defense Secretariat reported that on the 26 of May units currently assigned to the military garrison located in the city of Piedras Negras, Coah., were carrying out a reconnaissance survey in the neighborhoods susceptible to flooding by recent rains in the city when the came under attack with firearms by three men who were traveling aboard a vehicle.
Military personnel proceeded to repel the aggression and arrest the perpetrators. 10 rifles, three handguns, 43 magazines for different types of weapons, 432 cartridges of different calibers, five bulletproof vests, two vehicles communication and miscellaneous equipment were secured.
Unfortunately, in repelling the cowardly attack, one element of this Army unit was killed, and another was wounded.
The detainees, weapons, vehicles and miscellaneous equipment were made available to the relevant authorities.
Images from the scene of the confrontation released by SEDENA.
3 injured gunmen lay on the ground under guard.