More than 600 Mexican soldiers arrived in the area across the Rio Grande from Starr County on Monday in an effort to help secure the known drug corridor after several recent firefights.
Frontera Chica, or Little Border, is the common name given to the area including Camargo, Miguel Aleman and Ciudad Mier. Among the recent violence there was a daylong firefight Oct. 8 that resulted in the death of 11 Gulf Cartel gunmen and the arrest of 36, as well as the seizure of 4 tons of marijuana.
The troops are members of the 105th Battalion, which was formed Oct. 1 to permanently address the security situation in the area, according to the Mexican military.
The troops arrived Monday with weapons, vehicles, communication systems and other support systems to begin operations.
The battalion is tasked with patrolling the area, gathering information and intelligence, fighting members of organized crime, community outreach and taking actions to protect citizens during natural disasters.
The new battalion will focus on curbing the activities of organized crime and reducing crime overall in order to restore peace to the area, according to the news release by the Mexican military.
In separate news, Mexican authorities announced the rescue in Ciudad Victoria of 12 people who had been kidnapped by members of organized crime. State authorities continue to say that the Tamaulipas capital is relatively safe.
The kidnappings were allegedly carried out by Zetas, who still have a strong presence in Ciudad Victoria and have enforced a virtual gag order on local media and local authorities, said a Tamaulipas law enforcement official not authorized to speak to the media.
The first rescue took place the afternoon of Oct. 19 at a house in the Del Valle neighborhood, where Mexican marines rescued 10 victims and arrested three alleged kidnappers. They also seized an assault rifle, communication equipment and an automobile.
Three days later, Mexican marines rescued two kidnapping victims and arrested four kidnappers, according to the announcement.