The Brownsville Herald
Firefights and roadblocks kicked off the weekend for the residents of Matamoros as members of the Gulf Cartel and Zetas fought the Mexican military in a three-way firefight Friday.
That same scenario played out Thursday in various key areas of Tamaulipas, according to Mexican authorities,
About 5 p.m. Friday, gunmen began fighting each other along Sexta Avenue, one of Matamoros’ main avenues, and hijacked tractor-trailers and other large vehicles to block main roads and keep the Mexican military away, said one Mexican law enforcement official.
The blockaded roads included Sexta, Canales and Primera streets, Lauro Villar Avenue, Calle Marte R. Gomez, Del Niño Avenue and Sendero Nacional.
Heavy fighting was reported along Sexta Street and Sendero Nacional. The fighting reportedly lasted more than two hours. The number of casualties was not available at press time Friday.
During the week, armored trucks from cash delivery services were hijacked, the Mexican law enforcement source stated. Two were from COMETRA and one from Panamericanos. Workers at some businesses were not paid Friday because the delivery services didn’t operate after the repeated hijackings.
On Thursday, the Mexican army was involved in one firefight in the town of Gonzalez — about 80 miles southeast of the state capital, Ciudad Victoria — and conducted several raids with minor clashes elsewhere, including in the northern Tamaulipas cities of Matamoros, Miguel Alemán, Camargo and Valle Hermoso, the military reported. One gunman was reported dead and 18 were arrested on those clashes.
The military also reported the following operations:
>> In Gonzalez, the Mexican army fought a group of armed gunmen, killing one and seizing two SUVs, an assault rifle and a handgun.
>> The army also reported a brief clash in a rural area of Ciudad Diaz Ordaz, across the border from Sullivan City, as well as the seizure of 173 bundles of marijuana with an estimated weight of more than 7,000 pounds. Authorities also seized six SUVs, an assault rifle and some ammunition.
>> In Miguel Alemán, the military seized about 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Additional details were not available.
>> In Matamoros, the army raided a stash house and seized small quantities of cocaine and crack.
>> In Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, across the border from the Zapata County town of Falcon Heights, troops arrested eight gunmen and seized four SUVs and a small cache of weapons. No injuries or deaths were reported.
>> In San Fernando, the military clashed with armed criminals, arresting four gunmen and one woman and seizing an armored SUV and a small cache of weapons.
>> In Valle Hermoso, about 20 miles southwest of Matamoros, the army raided a stash house and arrested five gunmen, as well as seizing one SUV, a small weapons cache that included two grenades and several military-type uniforms.
In Nuevo Padilla, about 25 miles northeast of Ciudad Victoria, the military seized two SUVs and a small weapons cache during a stash house raid. No arrests were reported.
Photos: The Monitor