Replacing the man authorities largely blame for the bloody schism between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas took almost no time at all.
Several hours after officials on Friday confirmed the death of Samuel “Metro-3” Flores Borrego — the Gulf Cartel’s No. 2 leader and boss responsible for its operations in the Reynosa area — sources with direct knowledge had already identified his successor.
Various sources within and outside law enforcement claim 49-year-old Mario Armando Ramirez Treviño — whose aliases include ”X-20” and “Pelón” — has been named as the cartel’s new plaza boss for Reynosa.
Ramirez has served as the second-in-command of the Reynosa plaza, according to the U.S. Department of State, which has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
His promotion came fast on the heels of Mexican authorities’ discovery of Flores’ body early Friday morning.
His bullet-riddled corpse — and that of Eloy Lerma Garcia, a high-ranking police official from the city of Diaz Ordaz — were found inside a Ford Lobo pickup truck along the Monterrey-Reynosa highway, about 13 miles south of Reynosa, according to the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office.
Diaz Ordaz is across the border from Sullivan City.
Flores’ slaying was likely the result of a power struggle within the Gulf Cartel, according to a statement from the Mexican army.
It was unclear if a firefight that broke out Saturday morning in Matamoros was related to that power struggle.
The gun battle took place in the Sección 16 neighborhood, prompting a response from the Mexican military, according to Mexican law enforcement official. Gunmen set up roadblocks along the city’s main avenues, jamming up traffic on the city’s south side. Information regarding casualties was not readily available.
Shortly after the firefight, and not far from where it took place, Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre Cantu and Matamoros Mayor Alfonso Sanchez attended an installation ceremony at Tamaulipas University for the new bishop of Matamoros.
Authorities believe Flores was responsible for the death in early 2010 of Zeta lieutenant Sergio “Concord 3” Peña Mendoza, a close associate of the Zetas’ No. 2 leader, Miguel Angel “El 40” Treviño.
Widespread violence has dogged Tamaulipas and other states in northeast Mexico since the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas — a paramilitary organization that served as the enforcement arm of the Matamoros-based cartel — split in mid-February 2010.
After Peña’s slaying, the Zetas demanded Flores’ death and threatened open war with the Gulf Cartel if the score was not settled with his blood. The Gulf Cartel ignored the Zetas’ demand, and the internecine feud that erupted continues unabated to this day.
Drug-related violence has claimed more than 42,000 lives in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on his nation’s entrenched drug cartels after taking office at the end of 2006, according to Reuters news service.