Mr. T Posted April 6, 2010 Report Share Posted April 6, 2010 Texas border towns fear violent spillover from Mexico EL PASO – Texas law enforcement officials are bracing for a bloody weekend along the border, advising farmers to arm themselves as signs across northern Mexico point to a new escalation of violence after coordinated drug cartel attacks against the military this week. In the northern Mexican states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, both bordering Texas, drug cartel gunmen used trucks and buses Tuesday to block approaches to military bases in Reynosa and Matamoros, apparently in an attempt to trap the troops inside. In all, gunmen attacked military targets in a half-dozen towns in the two states. At least 18 suspected attackers were reported killed. One soldier was reported wounded. The unease across Mexico has analysts and political leaders questioning the Mexican government's long-term strategy, with at least one leading expert saying the approach is flawed because some "government elements" unwittingly favor one cartel over the other. The result has been a "feeding frenzy" of violence, said Phil Williams, an expert on global security who spoke this week at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, southwest of Fort Worth. Across West Texas, worries abound of possible Easter weekend massacres in tiny Mexican communities butting up against Texas. In Hudspeth County, near El Paso, Chief Deputy Mike Doyal said Thursday that his "deputies are on high alert, 24-7," for any sign of "a spillover of violence." The alerts were prompted by street banners and online messages from alleged members of the Sinaloa cartel warning residents of Mexican towns to leave by Easter Sunday or face death and burned homes. The Sinaloa cartel is battling members of the Juárez cartel for control of distribution routes into Texas. Cartels are also known to use the banners and online messages to spread fear and intimidate residents without following through on threats. In recent days, according to residents with relatives on the Mexican side of the border, at least six homes and businesses have been burned. Hundreds of residents reportedly have either fled to nearby Ciudad Juárez or sought refuge with relatives in Texas. Doyal said tensions over the past few weeks have reached a "boiling point." "The word on the street is, 'You have to leave or pay with your blood,' " Doyal said. "This is supposed to be the weekend of weekends. So, yeah, we're on high alert." Worries about IEDs In Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, across the border from South Texas, the Gulf cartel is battling its former enforcers, the paramilitary group known as the Zetas. In an alarming new development, the criminal groups are experimenting with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, said Alex Posey, a Mexico security analyst with Austin-based Stratfor. "The most worrisome thing about an IED is that it's not as targeted as a rifle round," Posey said. "There is a greater risk of collateral damage when IEDs are involved." At a news conference in Mexico City, Gen. Edgar Luís Villegas called the attacks in northern Mexico "desperate acts" in reaction to "the advances made by federal authorities." Some residents and experts scoffed at the statement, saying that the situation is spiraling out of control. A businessman in Reynosa, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by criminal groups, said by telephone that the military "reacts like spectators at a bullring." "They sit around and watch while hit men kill each other, and then they come in and clean up the mess, even the blood of innocent people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," the businessman said. The U.S. Consulate office in Monterrey issued a warning Thursday for Easter weekend: "Americans planning to travel by road from Monterrey to Texas should be especially vigilant and carefully monitor local news reports." In Chihuahua state, across from El Paso, 4,500 federal agents were expected Thursday night to take over for the military, which will remain active but in a support role. Source Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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