Fire and violence in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo led U.S. officials to close the U.S. consulate to the public in Mexico, as well as briefly shut down border crossings on Monday.
According to the StarTribune, burning vehicles and gunfire erupted on Sunday evening after the arrest of a leader of the Bloodthirsty Northeast Cartel, which is the successor group to the old Zetas Cartel, labeled as one of Mexico’s most bloodthirsty gangs. Media reports state that suspected cartel members opened fire and hijacked and burned vehicles in retaliation for the arrest.
Southbound traffic from Laredo, Texas, into Nuevo Laredo at the Juarez-Lincoln and Gateway to the Americas bridges was suspended, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, it was re-opened early Monday morning, officials said.
The U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo was closed to the public and existing appointments had to be rescheduled, as the consulate remains closed. Reports stated the building was hit by gunfire, however, the StarTribune stated the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has not confirmed that.
A senior Mexican official spoke to Reuters and said there was at least one person that died due to the violence.
U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar told the StarTribune, “I have raised our grave concerns about these incidents and the safety and security of our employees directly with the government of Mexico.”
According to a statement from the Mexico government, the arrested suspect on Sunday was Juan Gerardo Trevino, or “El Huevo.” He was the leader of cartel gunmen known as “The Troops of Hell,” which is an extremely violent and heavily-armed gang of hitmen. Trevino is the nephew of imprisoned Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino.
Trevino reportedly had two illegal guns on him when he was arrested. He will face charges of extortion, homicide, and terrorism in Mexico. He was also on a list of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most wanted criminals, as he faces charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs and money laundering.
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Reuters stated the arrest is a “forceful blow” to the cartel’s power in the region. However, the Mexican government told Reuters they were committed to security cooperation with the U.S. and the crime organizations involved in this incident would face the weight of the law in both countries.