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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

El Tigre, Matamoros Update: Timeline of Events

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

New details and specifics about the major shootouts and narco blockades that occurred on October 22, as covered by Sol Prendido in this previous post, have emerged online. These details allow for a more complete picture of the series of events that led to the death of Gulf Cartel leader “El Tigre”, alongside two other hitmen and the death of an innocent female bystander in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

Previous Attack

Another shootout occurred during the weekend just prior to this most recent event. On October 17, 2021, a convoy of alleged cartel members were spotted by State Police officers while they were in the process of trying to steal a trailer in the 20 de Noviembre neighborhood of Matamoros. 

This led to a gunfight and then a series of chases and further confrontations which ultimately left 4 cartel members dead, 4 cartel members arrested, and 2 police officers were wounded. For further details on the shootout in Matamoros last weekend, please see this previous post.

Timeline of Events

Initial Confrontation

The Tamaulipas Coordination Group reported that the confrontations on the night of October 22, 2021 began when Army soldiers (SEDENA) and state police personnel were patrolling the city of Matamoros and they spotted several suspicious vehicles driving down a street in downtown Matamoros. 

These “suspicious vehicles” were reportedly a group of pickup trucks which had several men on board who were visibly carrying firearms. The Coordination Group reports that the SEDENA soldiers and state police officers asked the vehicles to stop driving and pull over at approximately 9:00 pm. 

However, instead of complying with the request, the armed men in the vehicles reportedly sped away as quickly as they could while several of the men inside fired their weapons back, towards the state police and soldiers. The security forces began to chase after the vehicles, with the initial chase beginning in the downtown area of Matamoros and it progressively moved west. 

Exact details about if the cartel convoy broke off in different directions are unclear. However it is known that there were multiple confrontations at different locations following the initial attack, which may suggest the convoy split up.

Secondary Confrontations 

A shootout is believed to have occurred inside a shopping mall known as Plaza Fiesta, which is located in the south of the city. Members of criminal organizations were seen to be shooting towards members of security forces with the security forces returning fire. 

On social media multiple videos of civilians taking cover, lying flat on the ground at various businesses in the heart of Matamoros have emerged. It is being reported that civilians who were walking on the sidewalks threw themselves to the ground, pulling those close to them down trying to protect their loved ones from the shooting.

Civilians watching a local circus perform, people sitting down for dinner at restaurants, even attendees of movie theatres were all affected by the sound of close gunfire as various shootouts occurred downtown.

In a confrontation in the Pedro Moreno neighborhood, a stray bullet entered the vehicle and fatally injured the passenger of a car full of unrelated civilians. The shot took the life of Sonia Grimaldo, who was the secretary of the Honor and Justice Commission of the Ciudad Victoria City Hall Workers Union. 

She was just one of three people in the civilian vehicle that was hit; all three were work colleagues. José "E" and Gustavo "C" received minor injuries as a result of the same stray bullet that took Sonia’s life. 

Sonia Grimaldo

The vehicle was travelling from the hotel where they were staying to a hall hosting an event for the Ciudad Victoria Union which they were going to attend. Immediately following the attack, Sonia was taken to a hospital for treatment of the gunshot wound however, upon arrival at the hospital she no longer showed vital signs.

These three civilian bystanders were not the only ones to be hurt during Friday’s attack, as near the intersection of Canales and Sexta streets, municipal police attended to an injured minor and an adult whose vehicle window was broken by a stray bullet. The municipal government of Matamoros announced that they responded to nine different incidents during the course of Friday night.

Silver SUV

A few blocks away from the incident in which an unrelated civilian was killed, a silver colored SUV with custom armor plating engaged in a gunfight with SEDENA soldiers. The SEDENA soldiers were successful in disabling the vehicle, resulting in the death of three cartel hitmen inside the vehicle and the wounding of two more hitmen inside.

One of the three men killed is believed to be the Gulf Cartel (Cártel del Golfo, CDG) regional leader Ariel Treviño Peña, alias “El Tigre”.

The identity of El Tigre was later confirmed through DNA tests performed. The test results confirming his identity were announced by Governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco Javier García, known more commonly by his maternal last name “Cabeza de Vaca”. 

The identity of the two other deceased CDG hitmen have not been officially released. The two wounded and arrested CDG hitmen taken from the silver SUV have been identified as Adán "D", 26 years old, and José Miguel "V”, also 26 years old. The State Coordination Group has confirmed that both those arrested and killed are “part of the criminal group known as the Gulf Cartel”.

Video Credit: Nestor Lankenau, thank you to BB commenter Paisa.

Video Credit: Ace Mamut, thank you to BB commenter Paisa.

Video Credit: Giovanna Aguilera, thank you to BB commenter Paisa.

Three hitmen appear to be surrendered but only two were reportedly detained in this particular shootout. This is possibly due to misinformation or a detainee succumbing to a grave injury he sustained.


In response to hearing of the series of confrontations their were having against members of the military, CDG leaders within Matamoros reportedly ordered that "narco-blockades" be constructed at 15 points at different points across the city. These blockades sought to limit the movement of military and law enforcement authorities within the city and to prevent reinforcements from outside of Matamoros from arriving. 

Hitmen reportedly forcibly commandeered vehicles, large trucks and public transportation buses were especially targeted. These were then parked across lanes of traffic and set on fire, preventing vehicle movement. At other locations CDG hitmen threw metal devices known as “ponchallantas”, or tire puncture devices onto the road.

Blockades were reported in the neighborhoods of La India, Rusias and Carrera Torres, among other locations. Hitmen especially targeted highway access points which connect Matamoros city with Nuevo Progreso and Valle Hermoso, nearby municipalities.

State authorities confirmed officially that they had now brought the city under control at around midnight and announced the two detained hitmen from the aforementioned silver SUV incident.


The final results of Friday night are: 3 deceased armed men (1 of the 3 is El Tigre) and 1 deceased civilian bystander. 4 detained cartel members (2 of 4 detained men are injured). 4 injured civilian bystanders. 3 injured members of security forces. 

The custom armored silver SUV and a secondary armored vehicle were seized by members of law enforcement, along with 4 long barrel firearms (1 of the 4 being a 50 cal Barrett firearm)

Official Statements - The Governor 

The Governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco Javier García, known more commonly by his maternal last name “Cabeza de Vaca” first tweeted out on October 22, 2021, that:

“I have instructed elements of the @SSP_GobTam to concentrate their efforts in #Matamoros to attend to the risk situation and in protection of the citizenry.” Link 

He later tweeted out the Tamaulipas Coordination Table’s official statement. Link Then the next day, after receiving the results of the DNA test done on the deceased man alleged to be El Tigre, he tweeted: 

“Confirmed the identity of Ariel Treviño "El Tigre", one of the aggressors killed in the events of #Matamoros. The @gobtam reiterates it will use all resources at its disposal and will spare no effort in the fight against criminal groups. There will be no truce against the violent.” Link

Official Statements - The US Consulate

On the day of the shooting the US Consulate issued a travel advisory for US citizens in the area of Matamoros which read:  

Location: Matamoros, Mexico, in the vicinity of the following neighborhoods: Buena Vista, San Francisco, Valle Alto, and in the vicinity of Ave Del Nino and Avenido Pedro Cardenas.

Event:  At approximately 9:00 P.M., on Friday, October 22, 2021, gun battles between Mexican security forces and cartel members were reported throughout parts of Matamoros.  U.S. Consulate General Matamoros personnel have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice.

There are reports of cartel blockades throughout the city.  These could lead to additional gun battles in Matamoros.

Actions to Take:

Shelter in place.

Monitor local media for updates.

Avoid crowds.

Keep a low profile.      

Be aware of your surroundings.

Review your personal security plans.

Contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy if you need assistance. Link 

They later followed up the next day with the following statement: 

Following last night’s clashes between Mexican authorities and criminal armed groups, U.S. consulate officials in Matamoros will restrict their movements to home, work, and U.S. Ports of Entry during daylight hours and shelter in place between 7:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. 

The State Department recommends U.S. citizens do not travel to the State of Tamaulipas due to crime and kidnapping.  See here for the full text of our Mexico Travel Advisory. Link

Warning: Graphic photo below this point. 

Photo alleged to show "El Tigre" post mortem. 

Update 10/25/2021: Three new videos added in Silver SUV section. Thank you to BB commenter Paisa.  


  1. The Mexican government should do what the President of the Phillipenes does---on the spot summary executions for drug dealers. Why waste taxpayer money on them? They have totally f*cked up Mexico.

  2. What golfo click did this guy work for?
    Metros or ciclones?

    1. I am working on a separate article for tomorrow talking more about who El Tigre was in terms of which CDG subgroup, which plaza he controlled, etc. As well as looking at that logo on the hitman's vest.

      But I can tell you right now Frontera Rojo Vivo, Financiero, and KRGV all say Tigre was a part of "Escorpiones", which is associated with CDG Matamoros faction and Tampico faction.

      Whether he was more an Espartano or Ciclone is what I am still trying to find out. But he was for sure not Metros. Let me know if any of you guys know more.

    2. @1:44 are you annoyed and pissed that somebody actually did research and is providing accurate reports of the situation?

    3. That would be good info due to tje fact that thete is an ongoing war that just escalated for control in tamaulipas with el flaquito and some metros and other cells.
      It coukd get confusing.
      thanks HEARST

    4. HEARST Ciclón 34 y/o Tigre sin errar el dato hermano de El Comandante Sierra personal de El Coss en su momento.

      Recuerdan la canción de "El Tigre" de Cartel de Santa?

    5. Ciclón el camarada un día me hablo me dijo necesito unas letras allí nació el corrido del 7 que le ayude un poco pinche 7 el tigre recuerdo el 35 de Cameron operativa 900 si era ciclón RIP

    6. No temas donde vayas que has de morir donde debes
      Eso lo dice el doce y espero y lo recuerden
      La maa anda bien pesada moviendo muchos billetes
      Nunca se haba wuachado un maoso como este x2

    7. I tried writing about El Tigre as a follow up story but El Universal, El Manana, and Milenio all claim the Ariel Treviño Peña "El Tigre" killed in this attack is the same El Tigre who was arrested September 4, 2009, who was primarily known as Abel Alfredo Flores Treviño.

      However photos of the Tigre arrested in 2009 don't match the photos of the deceased nor does the age. I don't know how to begin writing about him with such a big discrepancy in information. If you guys have any insights, let me know.

    8. Hearst, still planning on writing that follow ip on el Tigre? It would be lovely if you did.

    9. I'm still willing to write it but I really need to better understand, first: was the Ariel Treviño Peña "El Tigre" killed in this attack the same El Tigre who was arrested September 4, 2009, who was primarily known as Abel Alfredo Flores Treviño?

      Do you have any insight on this issue?

      If you compare the photos of Abel versus Ariel, they appear to be two different men. What do you make of that?

  3. Overall its an excellent article from what I know about CDG and its factions( Rojos, Cyclones, Excorpiones, Metros, etc) it's well written and with a lot of back story. I hope you write an article detailing each cell. Esa Raza de Tamps es Brava

  4. Gaby Montes debe estar muy triste por la muerte de su hermano a ver como se pone

    1. Con qué Treviño está relacionado El Tigre?
      Hice este árbol genealógico hace un tiempo y todavía no lo puedo descifrar.

  5. Some juicy news. Thank you for the great work.

    1. Orale Edgar Alvarado.
      Where have been?

    2. Edgar the Marichi can you play, Viva Las golordinas?

    3. Hi for me play
      Canta la Ameda.

    4. How about Freedie Fender songs...
      Before the next teardrop falls.

    5. Edgar what's up dude? Did the migra get you?

  6. Three hitmen appear to be surrendered but only two were reportedly detained in this particular shootout. This is possibly due to misinformation or a detainee succumbing to a grave injury he sustained.

    I watch a video on TikTok about the Chevy SUV and the Mexican military. A Sand Cat military vehicle rams the SUV and they sprayed the SUV with hundreds on bullets. It a crazy cool video. The video was taken by a military or police individual.

    1. Pues deja veo si lo encuentro. No le di like ni lo pude bajar pero deja veo si lo encuentro otra vez.

    2. No le di like y tampoco lo pude bajar. Pero deja veo si lo encuentro otra vez.

    3. Aquí van. No encontré el original y completo que era el video sin música o letreros pero son estos.

    4. Paisa, thank you, thank you. I hope you don't mind, I would like to add these videos to the story.

      Thank you!

    5. Hearst go ahead buddy. Whenever I find something I’m happy to share with you guys.

    6. Good shit Paisa, gracias wey.... the rap video esta chido

    7. I realize I'm late to seeing this but great links. Thx

  7. La "Sabia Calle Epoca Violent" is saying that el Tigre had been apprehended before all this took place then placed the body at the seen. They also claim that several soldiers got killed since the first morning confrotations. This is the link to the page



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