El Universal, La Cronica de Hoy
This week began violently in Mexico’s Gulf and Caribbean coasts with two incidents that left at least 15 people dead in the states of Vera Cruz and Quintana Roo.
The first incident began Sunday night when a unit of the Mexican army on patrol in the city of Panuco, Vera Cruz, clashed with a group of 12 gunmen in a confrontation that lasted 15 hours, from 9:00 PM till 12 noon on Monday.
Panuco, a city of 50,000 inhabitants, is located on the border area where the states of Vera Cruz, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas meet. The cluster of cities in this area, Ciudad Valles and Rio Verde in San Luis Potosi, Panuco in Vera Cruz and Ciudad Mantes, Ciudad Madero and Tampico in Tamaulipas, have seen a dramatic rise in violence and lawlessness since the beginning of this year
due to the fracture of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas into factions fighting for control of organized crime operations in northeast Mexico.
Both factions have expanded from drug trafficking into extortion, kidnappings for ransom and human trafficking.
The firefight began Sunday evening at 9: PM when military troops attempted to stop a convoy of six vehicles for a routine check but were met with gunfire.
A running shootout through the streets of the city ensued that finally led to the gunmen barricading themselves in a safe house located in the Coloñia Altos de Viña.
The volume of gunfire during the shootout was so great that damage to electrical transformers left the city without electricity for 10 hours.
The gun battle ended at 12 noon Monday with six criminals, one soldier and one civilian dead according to Vera Cruz State Prosecutor Salvador Rivera. Six surviving gunmen were arrested. At least five soldiers and one civilian were reported injured.
One AR-15 Rifle .223 caliber, eleven AK-47 7.62x39 mm rifles , an Intratec 9mm submachine gun, two 9mm pistols and three vehicles (one armored) were seized by authorities after the battle ended.
Commentary by residents of Panuco on internet forums spoke of a much higher death toll but these claims are impossible to confirm without any evidence. Although the possibility exists that the death toll may have been higher, the exaggerated death tolls reported by civilians in these shootouts are most likely due to public hysteria.
Meanwhile, the governor of Vera Cruz, Fidel Herrera Beltran, said the shooting was part of an operation coordinated between federal and state forces to curb the entry of criminal gangs coming south from Tamaulipas into the state of Veracruz.
Attack on Cancun bar leaves 8 dead
SDP noticias, El Universal
A group of 10 to 12 criminals attacked a “table dance” bar in Cancun, Quintana Roo with Molotov cocktails resulting in 8 deaths according to authorities.
The bar was located inside the city of Cancun and away from the tourist beachfront, and was frequented by local residents according to authorities.
Early Tuesday morning the group of armed men burst into the bar and gathered a group of 12 customers and employees into the rear area of the establishment away from any exists and then lobbed the firebombs, causing the establishment to ignite into flames.
Six of the victims died from smoke inhalation while two others died of burns. The dead included six women and two men. Four of the fatalities were table dancers, two were waitresses and two were customers.
Four other customers and employees managed to escape the fire.
The owner of the bar had recently been abducted and released by alleged extortionists from Tamaulipas who claimed to belong to Los Zetas. It was not known if the owner had submitted to the extortion demands or had refused to pay.
The Attorney General of Quintana Roo, Francisco Alor, claimed that the attack may have been a reprisal for the detention of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal in the state of Mexico earlier on Monday.
"I think the attack is a reaction to the arrest of the Barbie. I don’t see this as related to any extortion, this goes beyond," said Alor.
The state Attorney General did not disclose any evidence, however, to reinforce his claims.