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More violence feared in Mexico following killing of Gulf cartel kingpin


Northeastern Mexico is bracing for a surge in violence following the killing of a notorious drug kingpin Friday by the Mexican navy. Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, alias "Tony Tormenta," was killed in a spectacular three-hour shootout in Matamoros, a city just across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the Tamaulipas state that Cardenas' Gulf Cartel has long dominated.

The Gulf cartel is locked in mortal combat with its one-time military arm, the Zetas. The demise of Cardenas, one of the Gulf's top two leaders, may at least temporarily embolden the Zetas, an especially ruthless group that broke away from the Gulf cartel this year and is fighting to take control of more territory and illicit businesses. Alejandro Poire, the Mexican government's spokesman for the drug war, said Monday that a period of "instability" within the drug-trafficking organizations is likely in the short term, but that overall they are being weakened. Here is a video of his interview with local television (link in Spanish).


Though not everyone agrees with that assessment, already a kind of psychosis is seizing Matamoros and other cities in Tamaulipas. The state government over the weekend warned residents, via Twitter, to stay at home to avoid getting caught as gun battles continued to erupt. And on Monday, schools cancelled classes and parents kept their children at home amid fears (false alarms, in the end) of bombs (link in Spanish).

Even before Cardenas' killing, much of Tamaulipas has been living in fear of the cartels, as this special Times report from Reynosa recounted in Sunday editions.


— Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City 

Credit: Top. A home in the Tamaulipas city of Reynosa damaged in gun battles earlier this year. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times. Middle. A Drug Enforcement Administration mugshot  of Cardenas, via AP.






Comments () | Archives (5)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Drugs are already illegal, Nimrod.

@Patricia: One, drugs are already illegal. and two: even if they weren't, making something illegal wont stop people from doing it. If drugs were legal and then made illegal, the people would still use the drugs and then there would be a higher crime rate. Taking something away from people that they have already become accustomed to, they would miss it and steal it and use it even more.

at least they got the kingpin

It looks to me like the only way to put a stop to the drug gangs is to declare martial law, close off the city, and search every house. Then do it city by city confiscating all the illegal guns, and either killing or imprisoning the gang members. I do no know if Mexico has a provision for martial law, and their prison system is rife with corruption. They need to establish a few American style prisons, and clean up the personnel there also.

When gangs can run an entire city, drastic measures have to be taken. Mexico is now harvesting the results of allowing corruption for a century. The business community has just ignored it also, and now it is coming home to them too.

Hey I have an idea: let's make drugs illegal.

That'll stop all this nonsense, right?


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About the Reporters
Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
Chris Kraul
Richard Marosi
Tracy Wilkinson