Mexico has sent more military and police to the Tamaulipas and Nuevo León states along the northeastern border with the US, in an effort to quell the violence caused by the rift between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas criminal organizations.
Mexico Security Spokesman Alejandro Poiré, who announced the deployment on Wednesday, did not specify the number of troops but said the so-called “Northeast Coordination” would target the heads, the structures and the “finances” of these groups and try to impede them from “regrouping,” following a series of blows to their organizations.
Mexican authorities killed Antonio Cárdenas Guillén, alias “Tony Tormenta,” the head of the Gulf Cartel, in a shootout earlier this month. They have also captured several leaders of the Gulf’s rivals, the Zetas in the region.
Tamaulipas and Nuevo León are the headquarters of the two groups, who split definitely earlier this year when Gulf Cartel members killed a top member of the Zetas and refused to discipline the culprits at the request of the Zetas. The over 400-mile border with the U.S., along with three critical crossing points, make it a vital corridor to move drugs north, and weapons and cash south.
The violence has caused farmers to abandon as many as 5,000 ranches and beef exports have been cut by two-thirds, according to La Crónica newspaper. One farmer, Aleja Garza, was killed by suspected traffickers when he chose to stay and fight back and has become a folk hero of sorts in the region.
But the crude nature of the violence has caused many more to flee. As many as 400 people fled the town of Ciudad Mier earlier this month, forcing authorities to create a refugee shelter for them. And over 1,100 have died in the two states due to drug violence this year.