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

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Five Days of Violence in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, and The Hunt for Gulf Cartel Leader 'El Mono'

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat

Carlos Humberto Acuna de los Santos, alias El Mono (The Ape), is the head of the Gulf Cartel faction Los Metros in Reynosa
For nearly two weeks, the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, has been engulfed in violent unrest, marked by sporadic shootouts and road blockades between security forces and local cartel members.

In the past five days, violence escalated in Reynosa as the city witnessed a series of shootouts from Thursday evening until Monday evening. Residents took to social media to share accounts of the unfolding violence.

Police sources confirmed that the first clashes began on January 23 when a local group of gunmen, led by Carlos Humberto Acuña de los Santos, alias "El Mono," attacked a convoy of Tamaulipas State Police.

Later revelations indicated that security forces were seeking to apprehend El Mono, but his gunmen thwarted the arrest attempt. Subsequently, security forces launched a large-scale operation to capture El Mono, who responded with further violence.

El Mono, also known as "Comandante Mono," "M-36," and "Metro 36," leads Los Metros, the faction of the Gulf Cartel based in Reynosa.

It is believed that El Mono temporarily fled Reynosa and sought refuge further west in La Frontera Chica, a border stretch between Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo. This area is also believed to be controlled by Los Metros.

January 23rd: Failed Capture of El Mono
On January 23, security forces attempted to capture El Mono. The pursuit began in a rural community towards Miguel Alemán municipality and extended into the state of Nuevo León. Despite the detention of four men and two women that day, El Mono remained at large, managing to evade capture.

Details regarding the unsuccessful arrest operation remain unclear. According to a state official, El Mono's associates protected him and secured his escape by firing at the state police units. It is alleged that El Mono himself was in one of the vehicles of the opposing convoy that thwarted the operation and engaged in gunfire with the law enforcement officers.

That same day, a shootout erupted on a remote rural road in China, Nuevo León, near the Tamaulipas border, resulting in the deaths of four gunmen. According to reports, this cartel cell involved in the shootout was allegedly linked to El Mono's faction.

In a video shared by citizen journalist ElGuzman (@FuriaNegra77), armed individuals are seen stationed along a highway. Among them are several armored trucks commonly referred to as "monstruos" (monsters).

In the subsequent days, authorities intensified their search for El Mono, although there were suspicions that he had temporarily left Reynosa.

A new operation commenced on January 28th, triggered by the assassination of lawyer Martin Garza Perez outside his office. While Garza Perez was not known to handle criminal cases, people rumored that his killing was cartel-related.

February 1st to 5th: A Weekend of Violence
Reynosa witnessed more violence once the weekend started.

On late Thursday, February 1, cartel members fatally shot Juan Luis Mora, the son of the owner of Gruas Mora, a truck tow company. His body was discovered inside a Silverado truck abandoned in a supermarket parking lot.

On Friday, February 2nd, Reynosa was engulfed in clashes between security forces and armed groups. At around 8:00 am, an armed convoy was reported to have shot at State Police personnel in Los Arcos neighborhood.

In another incident in the Miguel Hidalgo neighborhood, an elderly individual was injured in a shooting and subsequently hospitalized. State Police operations in Balcones de Alcalá neighborhood led to the seizure of an armed SUV containing weapons and ammunition.

Reynosa residents indicated on social media that there were shootouts in other parts of the city simultaneously, including Villa Esmeralda, Almendros, Bugambilias, and Balcones, as well as warnings of armed individuals on roads and tire punctures (ponchallantas) scattered across the area.

In the video above, a citizen showcases a black SUV that has been damaged and was reportedly used by cartel members

Schools and businesses in the southern, southeastern, and western regions of Reynosa were forced to close on Friday. During a shootout near Tecmilenio University, a 17-year-old student was hit by a stray bullet but was reported to be in stable condition.

The neighboring municipality of Río Bravo also experienced multiple shootouts on Saturday, February 3rd. A video shared on social media captured a tense moment in Rio Bravo as a truck carrying armed individuals evaded authorities, who responded with gunfire during the pursuit.

In the video above, gunmen are seen being pursued by security forces in a vehicle chase in Rio Bravo. Such incidents sometimes occur on busy roads, posing risks to civilians who may be caught in collisions or stray bullets.

Amid the chaos, reports circulated on social media over the weekend that armed individuals attempted to enter Reynosa General Hospital to kill or rescue someone who was being treated there. 

In another incident on Sunday, the Tamaulipas Security spokesperson, Jorge Cuéllar Montoya, explained that cartel members destroyed ten C5 security surveillance camera posts in Reynosa. Five of them were knocked down by buses hijacked by gunmen, and another five were damaged by gunfire.

This practice is common among Los Metros faction, aimed at causing damage to government assets and hindering law enforcement video surveillance efforts. Authorities believe these demolitions have been ordered by El Mono.

By Tuesday morning, reports of shootouts had ceased, but the atmosphere in Reynosa remained tense. Many areas of the city appeared deserted, with no people or vehicles visible on the roads. Only a handful of individuals ventured out, either returning home or engaging in essential work activities.

Several surveillance camera posts used by state and federal security forces were demolished across Reynosa by El Mono's faction

Cartel members are seen using a construction excavator to destroy another surveillance camera post

El Mono, Who Is He?
Carlos Humberto Acuña de los Santos, known as El Mono, was born on April 8, 1989, in Llera, Tamaulipas. His complete identity remained undisclosed to the public until 2021 when the National Guard leaked several files on wanted Gulf Cartel leaders in Tamaulipas, including him. They listed his addresses and the names of several of his family members.

These reports also disclosed that El Mono had served in the Mexican Army from August 1, 2007, to May 19, 2014, stationed as an infantry soldier in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas. Subsequently, he departed from military service and joined the Gulf Cartel.

He succeeded both Juan Manuel Loza Salinas ("El Toro") and Petronilo Moreno Flores ("Panilo"), who were killed and arrested in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Currently, he operates under the overall leadership of Cesar Morfin Morfin, also known as "El Primito", who is the top leader of Los Metros.

Since at least 2022, rumors have circulated about an internal conflict between El Mono and the twin brothers Héctor Sánchez Rivera, also known as "La Mimi," and Ernesto Sanchez Rivera, known as "La Mierda." They were removed from power when El Mono began to distrust them, and he replaced them with his confidant Roque Cruz Fuentes, alias El Roque or Metro 58.

Both La Mierda and El Roque have been arrested, but El Mono remains at large.


  1. Imagine driving through a group of gunmen hanging out on the side of the road like that. Me cago en los calzones.

    1. Todos los alucines se cagan típico

    2. 1039 not on this website. Everyone here thinks they're rambo. They'd disarm the criminals, give them the beatings of their life's, smuggle them in the U.S so they could face merican justice and personally deport them once their time is served.

    3. Y tu que wey 11:31

    4. Even rambo cant survive getting shot with a barret

    5. @ 11:31 el wey de de 8:04 les mamaria el palo compa

    6. 7:48 don't forget, after they subdue the narcos they will give them some good narco business advice. these alucines seem to have it all figured out.

    7. El mono soban.

  2. Me pregunto si El Primito tiene algo que ver en que se estén yendo contra El Mono.

    1. He probably wants him out the way

  3. Lots of CDG news been popping since the Matamoros kidnapping incident. Glad to see this cartel on the spotlight again after so many local journalists were scared to write about them for so many years.

    1. Well even before that incident they were on the spotlight

  4. dude that is A LOT of sicarios. Isnt Reynosa a smaller city?

    1. Reynosa isn’t small. Distances are long, and it’s the most populated city in Tamaulipas. Almost close to 700K residents and those are the “registered” ones. It’s estimated that it’s well over 1M and been like that for years.

    2. oh damn I always thought Reynosa was the size of Matamoros or smaller. Good info

  5. That white SUV toward the end looks like the same one getting chased in the other video

    1. Yes said the blind man

    2. All border towns are infested with people from all over waiting to jump the pond what a bunch of scraps they are not essential to Mexico much less to the USA.

    3. Like that chick in the US suing because her daughter died well if nobody told to come over and if I go to Mexico or Central America can I sue too?

    4. You’re legally allowed to sue so yes. 1102

      Would it work? Most likely not!

  6. Pues no que tan bravos poro corren como punietas


Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;