Border Bloodbath: Gunbattle Near Texas Border, 21 Dead

Ten alleged members of the Cartel of the Northeast were initially killed in the response.

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Four police officers were among nearly two dozen people killed after security forces engaged in an hour-long gunbattle with suspected cartel members Saturday in a Mexican town near the U.S. border, days after President Trump said he was moving to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations.

The armed group of suspected cartel members stormed the town of 3,000 residents in a convoy of trucks, attacking local government offices and prompting state and federal forces to intervene.

Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme told reporters the state had acted “decisively” to take back the town.

Damaged Black Truck on Gunfight near mexican border
A damaged black pickup truck with the C.D.N. of the Cartel del Noreste, or Cartel of the Northeast, written in white on its door could be seen on the street in an Associated Press photo.

Riquelme told reporters that police had identified 14 vehicles involved in the attack and seized more than a dozen guns.

The governor said that security forces will remain in the town for several days to restore a sense of calm. 

The town is about 12 miles from the site of a 2011 cartel massacre where officials say 70 died.

How’s Mexico Murder Rates?

Mexico’s murder rate has increased to historically high levels, inching up by 2 percent in the first 10 months of the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Federal officials said recently that there have been 29,414 homicides so far in 2019 – up from 28,869 over the same period last year.

gunbattle near mexican border
On Friday — the day before the deadly gunbattle — Mexico’s president said he would not accept any foreign intervention in Mexico to deal with violent criminal gangs after Trump’s comments.

The release of the figures comes at a time when López Obrador is facing growing criticism for his government’s “hugs, not bullets” policy of not using violence when fighting violent drug cartels.

LeBaron Family

In early November, Mexico made international headlines when a drug cartel ambush killed nine Americans, focusing world attention on rising violence in the country.

The three women and six children — all members of dual-citizen families that lived in La Mora, a decades-old settlement in the Sonora State founded as part of an offshoot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — were on their way to see relatives in the U.S when they were targeted about 70 miles south of Douglas, Ariz., by cartel members.

The release of the figures comes at a time when López Obrador is facing growing criticism for his government’s “hugs, not bullets” policy of not using violence when fighting violent drug cartels.

US Border police
“I don’t think that Mexico needs intervention. I think Mexico needs collaboration and cooperation,” Riquelme told reporters. “We’re convinced that the state has the power to overcome the criminals.”

In early November, Mexico made international headlines when a drug cartel ambush killed nine Americans, focusing world attention on rising violence in the country.

Riquelme on Saturday made similar comments to Lopez Obrador on how Mexico should handle the problem.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to visit Mexico this week to discuss cooperation over security, according to Reuters.

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