9 Dead After Weekend Gun Battles in Northern Mexico

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Gun battles reportedly between rival gangs in the border city of Reynosa over the weekend left nine dead and suggest the Zetas may be making a push to take over the key trafficking corridor and Gulf Cartel stronghold.

The fighting began early on November 3 when four men were shot dead in an SUV on the road connecting Reynosa and Monterrey, reported Informador.

Gunfire was later exchanged between gang members and Mexican soldiers throughout areas of Reynosa, leaving a further five suspected criminals dead.

Following the shootouts, gunmen set up road blocks along major streets leaving Reynosa, including the Anzalduas International Bridge connecting the outskirts of the city with Mission, Texas. Authorities denied any disruption had been caused to the border crossing, reported Notimex.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Gulf Cartel are the main group operating in Reynosa, retaining control of vital drug trafficking corridors moving north into the US. However, the group has been severely weakened in recent years, with in-fighting taking place between rival factions seeking to gain a grip of the drug trade running through Reynosa. The capture of the group’s leader Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias “El Coss,” in September raised the spectre of more turmoil in the gang as there was no immediate successor to take his place.

Another possibility is that the recent fighting was due to the rivalry between the Gulf Cartel and their former armed wing, the Zetas, who may be trying to make an incursion into Gulf territory.

Perhaps the more interesting aspect of this incident is the first round of killings. It is less common for cartels to engage in open gun battle as is said to have happened early on Saturday morning, that to send messages through grand displays such as mass body dumps. This was most evident in May when 49 bodies were discovered on a highway connecting Monterrey and Reynosa. The attack was attributed to the Zetas.

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