By Chris Covert
Updating with new information
The Mexican Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) confirmed a total of six drug cartel operatives have been killed in several shootouts in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas on Tuesday afternoon, according to Mexican news reports.
Previous reports put the death toll at between 10 and 15 with many more wounded.
|Shooting scene in Nuevo Laredo Tuesday|
Shootings had been reported in western neighborhoods of the border city since mid morning. Around noon, several units of the Mexican Army and Naval Infantry forces moved into the area and sealed off eastern and northern approaches, presumably to prevent criminal shooters from escaping the military cordon. The fighting stopped around 1500 hrs.
Reports also say that several more cartel shooters were wounded in the fighting.
The main location of at least one of the firefights was reportedly neighborhoods between Reservas Territoriales and Aquiles Serdan colonies along Avenida Lincon, which was apparently a running gunfight between cartel shooters and Mexican military forces. Some firefights were contained in an area of seven kilometers.
Reports say that citizens saw several individuals lying dead in the streets. An unconfirmed report said that one of the scenes of shootings was a McDonald's restaurant near the intersection of calles Venezuela and Cesar Lopez de Lara.
An unofficial report also said that one Mexican soldier died in the fighting.
Los Zetas practically own the Nuevo Laredo river crossing, so it is presumed the six dead were Los Zetas operatives.
Two cartel operatives were detained.
Solsiers also seized a number of contraband including six rifles, 71 weapons magazines, 1,555 rounds of ammunition, five 40mm grenades, one hand grenade, one grenade launcher and three vehicles.
Reports also say that two unidentified local leaders of Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo have been shot, but those are unconfirmed reports. The number two man in the Los Zetas criminal gang is Michael Trevino, AKA Z40, who controls the Nuevo Laredo crossing.
Los Zetas have in the past in other locations fought Mexican security forces whenever one of their leaders has been threatened with capture, tactics to include road blocks created through carjacking. Those tactics were used extensively last Friday in Jalisco state, when elements of the Mexican Army captured two top leaders of the Jalsico Nuevo Generacion drug cartel.
Local government officials as well as US consulate officials in Nuevo Laredo have warned residents via Twitter accounts to stay clear of the zones.
Later reports say that simultaneous armed confrontations between Mexican security forces and drug cartel shooters have taken place in Ciudad Miguel Aleman and Piedra Negras, Coahuila, all river crossing cities generally considered to be Los Zetas territories.
Los Zetas have suffered losses in the last week, including 12 operatives killed in a firefight and pursuit with Mexican Army units in Ciudad Miguel Aleman in Tamaulipas.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and political news for Rantburg.com.