Reynosa, Tamaulipas, the border city that lies across from Texas's Rio Grande Valley, ended the weekend with a 3 hour shootout Sunday that may have been signaled by banners hung in the city the day before.
The city has been the scene of violent fighting between factions of the Gulf cartel that was precipitated by the September 2011 execution of Samuel Flores Borrego, "El Metro 3", the Reynosa plaza boss at the time.
Saturday morning various peculiar messages containing cryptic threats and written in pink lettering were hung on banners that appeared on several pedestrian bridges.
The mesages read:
“A cada MARRANO le llega su 24.
Y en efecto esto pasó el 15-Feb-12 cayó otro de los traicioneros.
Pero la lista sigue y faltan varios.
Tarde o temprano le vamos a ir adelantando su 24 a cada uno.
Mientras pónganse a lidiar con su conciencia, porque después siguen las COCHINAS!”.
Every hog (filthy person) will get his 24.
And in fact this is what happened February 15, 2012 when another traitor fell.
But the list continues and others will follow.
Sooner or later we will overtake each one with their 24
Meanwhile you better grapple with your conscience, because the sows (filthy female) are next
Just as peculiar as the messages was the fact that they were published in the El Manana newspaper. Newspapers in Tamaulipas, and in particular those in the border cities, are censored by organized crime to prevent any mention of activities of organized crime. Both the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas follow this policy and only information that is approved by them is published.
It is probable that a Gulf cartel comandante ordered the banners published.
The penalty to disobey these orders to publish or not publish can mean death for local journalists.
The banners may fave foretold the heavy fighting that began Sunday morning in Reynosa between rival groups of armed civilians and intensified when military forces entered the fray.
The street battles began at 5:45am in the la Cañada area along boulevard El Maestro between armed civilians in pickups and on foot, possibly attacking safehouses, and spread to Las Fuentes and Valle Alto.
Automatic weapons and grenades were used by the groups and Army and Marine forces, including at least one armed helicopter, mounted an operation and entered the area an hour after the fighting started.
The fighting ended at about 8:30am. No casualties were reported but an unknown number of gunmen were believed to have died.