Videos Show Chaos in Mexican Border Town After Capture of Drug Cartel Leader

Gunfights and clashes erupted Friday in the streets of a major border
town in Mexico after security forces arrested a drug cartel leader.Following
the capture of "El Gafe," a leader of Mexico's fractured Gulf cartel,
gunmen fired their weapons and torched cars to blockade the streets of
Reynosa, a city across the border from McAllen, Texas, in the
northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
Three
"armed civilians" were killed in the shootouts and two members of the
Tamaulipas state police were injured, according to a statement by
Mexico's Interior Ministry. Several suspects arrested during the
shootouts were transferred to facilities in Mexico City, the statement
said. Reynosa, a city of 600,000, came to resemble a war zone after gunmen created several narcobloqueos, a cartel tactic that uses burning vehicles to block intersections and snarl traffic. The Reynosa government issued a "red light" emergency warning Friday afternoon, advising residents to stay away from several parts of the city.

Videos
showed panicked civilians taking cover behind cars and buildings as
dozens of gunshots rang out and huge plumes of black smoke billowed from
burning cars and buses.According to Borderland Beat, a site that tracks Mexican drug war violence, the vehicles were hijacked
and set on fire "in an apparent attempt to aid in rescuing" the
captured cartel leader. The attorney general's office in the city also
reportedly came under fire during the attack. Security forces brought
the city back under control by Friday evening.Once
one of Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking organizations, the Gulf
cartel has split into two rival factions, with El Gafe based in
Matamoros and leading the group known as Los Metros.Police
identified El Gafe as Jose Hugo Rodriguez Sanchez, retracting an earlier
claim that he was Jose Tiburcio Hernandez Fuentes, another alleged Gulf
cartel member.Reynosa
has been the scene of some of the worst drug cartel-related violence in
Mexico in recent years. In addition to the rival Gulf cartel factions
now vying for power, the Zetas cartel has fought for control of the
lucrative smuggling routes through the city and surrounding border area.Francisco
Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, an opposition senator and former mayor of
Reynosa said that the city was "completely out of control" on Friday, according to NBC News. More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war since 2006, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.

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