Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Confrontation in Monterrey

4 Arrested after shootout in northern Mexico

Monterrey, NL - Elements of the Mexican Marines and Army clashed this morning with a group of organized crime, where they managed to stop four people, two of which were entrenched in a residence in the Colony Cortijo del Rio , south of Monterrey.

During the operation, military forces also took into custody four elements of the State Public Safety who arrived at the scene apparently after receiving the report of a shooting from members of organized crime.

The confrontation took place hours after unknown assailants hurled grenades at a police station in the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe, causing damage but no casualties.

One of the military officers who took part said Friday's shooting began as marines were pursuing gunmen holed up in several houses in the city's Cortijo del Rio neighborhood.

While the marines nabbed four gunmen, a fifth man escaped despite being wounded in the clash, the officer said.

Marines also detained four state policeman they encountered at the scene, the Public Safety Office said, adding that authorities are trying to determine whether the cops were there in response to residents's calls about the shooting or if they came to aid the criminals.

The facts:

According to unofficial reports, around 5:50 am the marines were chasing a group of armed men who came up the street Camino del Barranco, where the suspects jumped over fences to enter the home with the address of 4657 Camino de la Rinconada.

In this house, the men barricaded themselves and before the screams of woman living in the home, the marines with the support of the soldiers started shooting.

Neighbors said they heard the scream of the neighbor and the hail of gunfire, while soldiers and marines were searching for suspects

According to residents from the area, the shooting lasted for several minutes.

At the scene were dozens of spent shell casings and damage to several homes and vehicles.

After a brief pause of gun fire, four state policemen arrived at the scene aboard two police units of the State Public Safety. They were subdued and taken into custody by the marines.

According to a witness, the marines kept shouting: "police move away, police move away," at the time they were stopped at gunpoint.

After detecting the men holed up in the residence, the soldiers and marines decided to enter the home where they detained two men.

It so happened that before this arrest, military forces had arrested two other people who ran down the street to try to escape and where there was another confrontation with the suspects.

Also several neighbors confirmed that at least two people were injured during the shootout, but authorities have not confirmed this information, even though on the street Camino de la Rinconada traces of blood could be seen.

After the incident, the Marines transported the four of suspects that had been detained along with the policemen to a military installation for questioning.

Hundreds of Mexican state and local police have been arrested in recent years on charges of collusion with drug cartels and other organized-crime elements.

Nuevo Leon officials say they fear a bitter turf war between the Gulf drug cartel and former allies Los Zetas that has left more than 50 dead in the neighboring state of Tamaulipas could spread to Monterrey.

"There have been confrontations between organized-crime groups. That has come to light. It has begun in a strong way in Tamaulipas," Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina said.

He noted that the Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned killers for hire, are thought to control the illicit drug trade in Greater Monterrey, which is home to nearly 4 million people.

In fact, authorities suspect the eight gunmen killed in a clash with soldiers earlier this week in Nuevo Leon were affiliated with either the Gulf cartel or the Zetas.

Wednesday's battle in the town of Anahuac erupted when an army patrol "observed seven vehicles approaching at great speed" and motioned to the drivers to stop, Mexico's defense department said.

Instead of stopping, the occupants of the vehicles opened fire on the troops. The patrol responded, killing eight of the attackers.

One soldier was pronounced dead at the scene and another died later at a hospital.

An unknown number of attackers managed to flee, but troops confiscated six guns, 705 rounds of ammunition, four SUVs, two cars, cash and communications gear left behind by the gunmen.

Drug-related violence has claimed more than 17,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the powerful, well-armed cartels.

More than 1,400 people have died in Mexico's drug war so far this year, according to capital daily El Universal.

14 are apprehended, 5 are cops

Minutes after the SEMAR transported five policemen that were detained after a shootout incident at a residence in the colony Cortijo del Rio, a second military unit transported nine subjects for a total so far of 14 detainees.

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