by Sergio Chapa
Deadly shootouts between armed men and federal troops followed by a series of "narco" blockades were reported Thursday morning in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.
The Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office (PGJE) confirmed that three gunmen were killed by Mexican soldiers during the battle.
Army officials did not have information available about the incident but state and local officials provided information.
Matamoros officials confirmed that it all started in front of the Tamaulipas State Police building off Avenida Marte R. Gomez around 7:20 a.m. Thursday.
The gun battle lasted until around 8:20 a.m. Thursday but resulted in a series of blockades on major streets throughout the city.
One of the blockades reportedly happened near the Mexican side of the Veterans International Bridge prompting Cameron County officials to temporarily close the southbound lanes of the bridge.
Matamoros officials told Action 4 News that the blockades were removed by 9:30 a.m. Thursday and that the city had returned to normal.
A spokesman with the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office (PGJE) reported that the shootout took place between armed men and federal troops and did not involve state police.
Details were not immediately available but the spokesman reported that there was some property damage to state police buildings and vehicles as a result of the shootout.
One of the state buildings near where the shootout took place is the Forensic Medical Service (SEMEFO), where the bodies of more than 100 victims in the San Fernando massacres were taken.
Tweets from the Matamoros and posts on public forums reported gunfire and grenade blasts were heard in various neighborhoods of the city and that the fighting started between gunmen loyal to a nephew of the former Gulf cartel druglord Osiel Cardenas Guillen, now incarcerated in the U.S Federal prison system, and a rival band of Zetas that had entered the city.
Reports out of the municipality of Valle Hermoso, 30 miles south of Matamoros, described shootouts along the length of the highway connecting both cities.