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Gunmen open fire on Mexican border mayor’s convoy

March 9, 2015

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — Authorities detained four alleged cartel members Monday in connection with an attack on the mayor of the border city of Matamoros.

Herminio Garza, Tamaulipas state secretary, said in an interview with the Televisa network Monday that federal police captured four suspected gunmen before dawn. They allegedly participated in the attack on the convoy of Matamoros Mayor Leticia Salazar Sunday night, in which the mayor and her bodyguards escaped unharmed.

He said the suspects told authorities they believed the convoy belonged to rivals encroaching on their territory, not the mayor.

Gunmen in two vehicles fired on Salazar’s convoy, but the armored vehicle she travelled in was not hit, Garza said. One sport utility vehicle carrying Salazar’s bodyguards was hit.

Matamoros is the stronghold of the Gulf cartel, which has experienced intense fighting among its own factions in recent weeks. The city lies across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.

Garza said those detained could be members of the Gulf cartel, because “that’s the most prevalent in that region.”

Recent attacks have included a brief kidnapping of the editor of a local newspaper and a grenade attack on the local Televisa affiliate.

In early February, after about a week of daily clashes left more than a dozen dead, the United States consulate indicated that the violence was the result of battles between rival factions within the Gulf cartel in Matamoros and Reynosa.

Salazar has said her administration has made great strides in combatting violence in Matamoros.

Over the weekend, authorities also announced the detention of 14 federal police accused of kidnapping a Matamoros construction businessman. Thirteen of them were sent to a prison for processing and one was later released.

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