One of the many Mexican cartel gangs attempted to take over a small city near the US border that led to a massive shootout leaving at least 21 people dead. The exchange of gunfire between the criminal thugs and police took place uncomfortably close to Texas and it's not clear at this time if the gunmen were trying to gain access into the US.
Their makeshift militarized vehicles certainly gave the impression that at the very least they were trying to establish themselves close to the border and were ready to kill the whole town if necessary.
According to Fox News, four police officers were among nearly two dozen people killed after security forces engaged in an hour-long gunbattle with suspected cartel members Saturday in a Mexican town near the U.S. border, days after President Trump said he was moving to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations.
The shootout happened around noon in the small town of Villa Union, a town in Coahuila state located about an hour’s drive southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas.
Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme told local media that four of the dead were police officers killed in the initial confrontation and that several municipal workers were missing. On Sunday, the Coahuila state government said that security forces killed seven additional members of the gang, bringing the death toll to at least 21.
The armed group of suspected cartel members stormed the town of 3,000 residents in a convoy of trucks, attacking local government offices and prompting state and federal forces to intervene. Ten alleged members of the Cartel of the Northeast were initially killed in the response.
A damaged black pickup truck with the C.D.N. of the Cartel del Noreste, or Cartel of the Northeast, written in white on its door could be seen on the street in an Associated Press photo.
Riquelme told reporters that police had identified 14 vehicles involved in the attack and seized more than a dozen firearms. Moreover, three of the suspected gunmen were killed by security forces in the initial pursuit of the gang members as they fled into rugged terrain, according to Reuters.
In the wake of the assault, the governor said that security forces will remain in the town for several days to restore a sense of calm. The town is about 12 miles from the site of a 2011 cartel massacre where officials say 70 died, according to reports.
“These groups won’t be allowed to enter state territory,” the government of Coahuila said in a statement.
Here are just a few photos taken of the aftermath. Watch:
Mexico’s murder rate has increased to historically high levels, inching up by 2 percent in the first 10 months of the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Federal officials said recently that there have been 29,414 homicides so far in 2019 – up from 28,869 over the same period last year.
The Mexican president refuses an outside aid from other countries in controlling their crime issue.
The release of the figures comes at a time when López Obrador is facing growing criticism for his government’s “hugs, not bullets” policy of not using violence when fighting violent drug cartels.