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citanon
01 Apr 10,, 08:53
18 morons killed while trying to blockade military garrisons.

18 gunmen die in attack on two army bases in Mexico - latimes.com (http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-mexico-army1-2010apr01,0,1814395,full.story)


18 gunmen die in attack on two army bases in Mexico
Seven assaults in two northern states take place almost simultaneously, apparently marking a major escalation in Mexico's drug war.
The Associated Press

March 31, 2010 | 10:58 p.m.



la-fg-mexico-army1-2010apr01

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico - Dozens of gunmen mounted rare and apparently coordinated attacks targeting two army garrisons in northern Mexico, touching off firefights that killed 18 attackers.

The attempts to blockade soldiers inside their bases -- part of seven near-simultaneous attacks across two northern states -- appeared to mark a serious escalation in Mexico's drug war, in which cartel gunmen attacked in unit-size forces armed with bulletproof vehicles, dozens of hand grenades and assault rifles.

While drug gunmen frequently shoot at soldiers on patrol, they seldom target army bases, and even more rarely attack in the force displayed during the confrontations Tuesday in the border states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon -- areas that have seen a surge of bloodshed in recent months.

The violence mainly involves a fight between the Gulf cartel and its former allies, the Zetas, a gang of hit men. The cartel -- which has apparently formed an alliance with other cartels seeking to exterminate the Zetas -- has been warning people in the region with a series of banners and e-mails that the conflict would get worse over the next two to three months.

Gunmen staged seven separate attacks on the army, including three blockades, Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas said Wednesday. He called the attacks "desperate reactions by criminal gangs to the progress being made by federal authorities" against Mexico's drug cartels.

Villegas said gunmen parked trucks and SUVs outside a military base in the border city of Reynosa trying to block troops from leaving, sparking a gun battle with soldiers. At the same time, gunmen blocked several streets leading to a garrison in the nearby border city of Matamoros.

Another gang of armed men opened fire from several vehicles on soldiers guarding a federal highway in General Bravo, in Nuevo Leon state.

Troops fought back, killing 18 gunmen, wounding two and detaining seven more suspects. One soldier suffered slight injuries.

Soldiers also seized 54 rifles, 61 hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, eight homemade explosive devices and six bulletproof vehicles used by the attackers.

Mexico's northern states are under siege from the escalating violence involving drug gangs.

The U.S. consulate in the northern city of Monterrey warned American citizens who may be traveling for Easter week about recent battles in the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and Durango. The consulate said U.S. citizens traveling by road from Monterrey to Texas "should be especially vigilant."

One of the clashes between soldiers and gunmen killed two gunmen on the highway connecting Monterrey and Reynosa, which is across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Less than two hours before that shootout, Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina had assured citizens that authorities regained control over the state's highways.

"I've found the highways calm. We ask that if citizens have plans to go out and enjoy these vacations, they should do so," Medina said.

Also on Wednesday, authorities in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco announced that the nephew of one of Mexico's most-wanted drug gang leaders was captured, together with a police chief accused of protecting a notorious cartel in a key port city.

Federal police detained Roberto Rivero Arana, who identified himself as the nephew of reputed Zetas gang leader Heriberto Lazcano, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement issued late Tuesday.

He was arrested along with Daniel Perez, the acting police chief of Ciudad del Carmen, an oil hub in neighboring Campeche state. The statement alleged Perez received 200,000 pesos ($16,000) a month for protecting the Zetas.

The arrests come as the Zetas are under pressure from a bloody turf war with their former ally, the Gulf cartel. Authorities blame that fight for contributing to a surge of violence in Mexico's northeastern border states north of Tabasco and Campeche.

Perez was acting chief pending a permanent appointment, Ciudad del Carmen Mayor Aracely Escalante said Wednesday.

"He's an agent who had been with the police force long before we took over the town government," Escalante said. "We had given him our trust."

The two men were found with 10 assault rifles, a grenade, ammunition, drugs, police uniforms and worker suits with the logo of Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, the Attorney General's Office said.

Last week, Tabasco Gov. Andres Granier warned that the arrests of several suspected Zetas over the past several months could stoke turf battles in his region. He asked the federal government to send troops.

Meanwhile, the Mexican government announced that federal police will take over the anti-crime campaign currently headed by the army in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez.

The army deployment has come under criticism from those who say soldiers are not trained for police work, and complaints they conducted illegal searches and detentions. But perhaps more important is the fact that killings have continued apace, even with troops in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas.

An unspecified number of soldiers will remain in Juarez to help combat drug gang violence that killed more than 2,600 people last year, and 500 more so far this year in the city of 1.3 million.

Starting Thursday, "the Mexican army will start gradually transferring responsibility for public safety to civilian authorities, to federal authorities at the beginning and gradually to state and local" forces, the Interior Department said in a news release.

The statement said 1,000 federal officers will be added to the police deployment in the city, bringing the number of federal agents to 4,500.

More than 7,000 troops had arrived in Juarez by mid-2009.

The department said the change was part of a new strategy to focus on social programs as an answer to the continuing violence.

Elsewhere, four severed human heads were found early Wednesday in Apatzingan, a town in the western state of Michoacan. Residents found the heads, with eyes still blindfolded, lined up at the foot of a monument along with a threatening message, state prosecutors said.

In Morelia, the Michoacan state capital, police reported finding the bodies of three young men who had been shot to death. The bodies had messages stuck to their chests with knives, The contents of the messages were not released.

Police in the border city of Nogales reported finding the bullet-ridden bodies of three men, including a city transport official, on a rural road along with three burned-out vehicles.

Wednesday marked the beginning of Mexico's Easter Week vacation, and police in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero reported that gunmen had held up two motorists on the highway leading to the resort of Acapulco. The gunmen stole the victims' vehicles, but they were not injured.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

gunnut
01 Apr 10,, 21:50
Hmmm...interesting. Normally people don't voluntarily attack an army base.

Skywatcher
02 Apr 10,, 00:32
They might have been sent in all coked up.

sappersgt
02 Apr 10,, 02:59
There is a whole lot more going on here. It's whats's not said I find interesting. Lots of unanswered questions. I'd like to hear from some other sources also.

citanon
03 Apr 10,, 00:43
There is a whole lot more going on here. It's whats's not said I find interesting. Lots of unanswered questions. I'd like to hear from some other sources also.

Here's a little bit more detailed article from the LA Times


latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/latinamerica/la-fg-mexico-gunbattles2-2010apr02,0,5886596.story
latimes.com
MEXICO UNDER SIEGE
Mexico drug gangs turn weapons on army
In northern states this week, gunmen fought troops and sought to confine some to their bases by cutting off access and blocking roads. The aggression shows they are not afraid to challenge the army.

By Tracy Wilkinson

April 2, 2010

Reporting from Mexico City

Drug traffickers fighting to control northern Mexico have turned their guns and grenades on the Mexican army, authorities said, in an apparent escalation of warfare that played out across multiple cities in two border states.

In coordinated attacks, gunmen in armored cars and equipped with grenade launchers fought army troops this week and attempted to trap some of them in two military bases by cutting off access and blocking highways, a new tactic by Mexico's organized criminals.

In taking such aggressive action, the traffickers have shown that they are not reluctant to challenge the army head-on and that they possess good intelligence on where the army is, how it moves and when it operates.

At least 18 alleged attackers were killed and one soldier wounded in the fighting that erupted Tuesday in half a dozen towns and cities in the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, the army said, topping off one of the deadliest months yet in a drug war that has raged for nearly 3 1/2 years.

The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey issued a warning to Americans who might be traveling in northern Mexico for the Easter break, citing the sudden outbreaks of gun battles in Nuevo Leon and neighboring states.

Traffickers previously have fought with army patrols, but the attempt to blockade garrisons came after weeks of an intense, bloody power struggle between two rival organizations, the Gulf cartel and its erstwhile paramilitary allies, the Zetas, to control the region bordering South Texas.

Part of the strategy of Tuesday's assaults may have been to prevent the army from patrolling, to give the drug gangs a freer hand in their fight against each other.

"This really speaks to the incredible organization and firepower that the drug-trafficking organizations have managed to muster," said Tony Payan, a border expert at the University of Texas at El Paso. "These are organizations that are flexible, supple and quick to react and adapt. They no doubt represent a challenge to the Mexican state."

In Reynosa, one of the scenes of Tuesday's fighting, the local government put out alerts Thursday for residents to avoid parts of the city. Residents said they heard gunfire and saw military armored personnel carriers moving through neighborhoods. One person was reported killed.

"People hear gunfire and get scared," said Jaime Aguirre, a radio talk show host. "But it's better to keep quiet and not hear anything so as not to risk reprisals."

Reynosa resident Yenni Gandiaga was driving to the gas station Tuesday morning when she heard gunfire getting closer and louder. Then she saw the troops and the gunmen. She turned down a side street to hide, crashing into two other cars in the process.

"People ran about screaming, picking up their children," she said. She hid in a stranger's house. When she emerged after the combatants moved on, the windows of storefronts and cars were shattered.

The Mexican Defense Ministry in Mexico City put out a blow-by-blow account of Tuesday's events. Taking a page from a manual on urban guerrilla warfare, gunmen struck at the same time Tuesday morning, and then again in the afternoon.

In Reynosa, a city in Tamaulipas state across the border from McAllen, Texas, gunmen positioned trucks, cars and trailers on a highway to block Campo Militar, an army base, about 11 a.m. At almost the same time, they blocked a garrison in the city of Matamoros, about 60 miles to the east. In Rio Bravo, between the two cities, traffickers battled with army patrols.

Later in the day, troops and traffickers clashed in other Tamaulipas towns and in neighboring Nuevo Leon state.

The army said it confiscated armored cars, grenade launchers, about 100 military-grade grenades, explosive devices and about 13,000 rounds of ammunition. Seven men were captured.

"The actions by these criminal organizations are a desperate reaction to the advances made by federal authorities in coordination with state and municipal security forces," Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas said.

It was not clear whether the fighting the army reported was with the Zetas or the stronger Gulf cartel. Most of the violence has been cartel against cartel, with some bystanders getting caught in the cross-fire. The gangs have also attacked police stations in many areas.

The Zetas, founded as a group of mercenary former soldiers working for the Gulf group, split away in a bid to take over part of the lucrative drug trade. They are fighting to seize territory from the Gulf network in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, amid reports that other strong cartels, such as the one based in Sinaloa, may be uniting with the Gulf traffickers to wipe out the Zetas.

Dozens of people, primarily traffickers, have been killed in recent weeks as the two groups clashed in the broad triangle along the border from Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey to Reynosa and Matamoros. Traffickers have flexed their muscle by repeatedly setting up roadblocks, closing highways and tying up traffic even in Monterrey, a major city.

"It is a risky tactic because it has the potential of angering society, but it is a very effective show of power," said Martin Barron, a researcher at a Mexico City think tank.

The increased agility of the drug gangs seen in Tuesday's violence indicates good intelligence, experts here and abroad said. Some of that intelligence comes from taxi drivers, street vendors and scores of other people on the traffickers' payroll who serve as lookouts for drug runners and their henchmen. But Payan and others suggested that some of the precise, street-level intelligence may come from soldiers, adding substance to fear that as the army is increasingly dragged into the drug war it is becoming susceptible to the same cartel-financed corruption that has long corroded police departments and many political structures.

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's deadliest city and where the army has been deployed in greatest force, federal police are to begin taking over security duties this month as the army is gradually withdrawn, the government said. The army has been criticized for rights abuses, including the disappearance of detainees and illegal searches.

By one newspaper's count, the drug war's death toll in March was the highest yet, more than 1,000.

wilkinson@latimes.com

Copyright 2010, The Los Angeles Times

tomkent45
13 Jan 11,, 14:04
I absolutely agree, Mexico has more than answered questions

astralis
13 Jan 11,, 14:59
armored cars, WTF. that means the cartels have got a pretty good logistics system and plenty of space to operate.

bigross86
13 Jan 11,, 16:27
Were they proper armoreds, or home-grown?

Mihais
16 Jan 11,, 21:55
Probably some sort of technicals. Any news on this case?Btw,given the fact that plenty of soldiers and policemen go to the dark side,isn't the situation more aptly named a sort of civil war.

tomkent45
01 Mar 11,, 16:12
i believe civil war can be used in this case. Go to mexico city now a days and you'll see

dave lukins
01 Mar 11,, 17:02
i believe civil war can be used in this case. Go to mexico city now a days and you'll see


Mexico has gone way down on my places to visit. 35.000 dead does not make it a choice holiday destination.

Bill
02 Mar 11,, 00:08
This entire "war" is solely the fault of the US government which simply cannot admit it's wrong headed approach, and of LEO agencies and the FOP protecting their budgets and union members.

The "War on drugs" is a sick, sick, sick joke, and those 35,000 dead bodies, as well as hundreds of thousands of others, are all victims of a war the US started, a war that can never, ever, under any reasonable definition, ever be "won."

"illicit" drugs need to be legalized, regulated, taxed, and controlled.

Yesterday.

95% of all this violence would end within six months, guaranteed.

That's what i think.

Chogy
02 Mar 11,, 14:07
Agreed. If 1% of the money spent in the "war" was spent on creating an infrastructure for regulation, taxation, distribution, then there'd be an effective system in place. Vastly improve education - "Just say 'no' " means hell yeah to most teens - and watch deaths from gang warfare, hepatitis, HIV, overdose, plummet.

All drugs, every one, were legal in the U.S. in the 1800's. Somehow, we not only survived, we thrived as a nation.

citanon
16 Mar 11,, 17:49
Agreed. If 1% of the money spent in the "war" was spent on creating an infrastructure for regulation, taxation, distribution, then there'd be an effective system in place. Vastly improve education - "Just say 'no' " means hell yeah to most teens - and watch deaths from gang warfare, hepatitis, HIV, overdose, plummet.

All drugs, every one, were legal in the U.S. in the 1800's. Somehow, we not only survived, we thrived as a nation.

Agreed.