At least 14 “innocent” victims were killed in drive-by shootings over the weekend in a Mexican border town that is a hotspot for drugs and illegal border crossings into the US, authorities said Monday.
Military and security forces swept the streets of Reynosa after the seemingly random shootings on Saturday and killed four suspects.
The individuals, “who were aboard several vehicles,” may have fired on “innocent citizens” as part of a dispute between rival cartels, Tamaulipas state officials said.
Reynosa, a city of 600,000 people, is a hotspot for cartel violence. Illegal border crossings in the region jumped 400 percent in the last year, according to the US Border Patrol.
Olga Ruiz, whose 19-year-old brother Fernando Ruiz was killed by the gunmen, said he worked as plumber and bricklayer for his stepfather to pay for school, and was fixing an outdoor drain when he was attacked.
“They heard the gunshots from afar and my stepfather told him: ‘Son, you have to take shelter,’” she said. “He asked permission to enter a house but my brother and his companions were only about to enter when the vehicles arrived. They stopped in front of them and started to shoot.”
Cartels have fought over territory in Reynosa for years. The city’s eastern section where the weekend’s carnage occurred has been dominated by the Gulf Cartel, which experts believe fractured in 2017.
On Sunday, Reynosa residents “were quiet as if nothing had happened, but with a feeling of anger because now crime has happened to innocent people,” said local businessman Misael Chavarria Garza.
Several of the past governors of the state of Tamaulipas have been accused of corruption and links to organized crime.
With Post wires