Mexican Army Seizes Tamaulipas at U.S. Border
Ever since the election of the new Mexican President Enrique Nieto, the drug cartels have had a small war on their hands. Mexicans are sick of drug cartels that have caused over 100,000 deaths in Mexico in the past seven years. Up to this point, past elected officials were ineffective or had been corrupted by the drug cartel's bribes. There are over 40 police bases in the state.
President Nieto is different. He has vowed to reclaim and control key zones where the drug cartels operate and since he has been in office, killings have dropped by 20% in Mexico. The silent partner behind the bold actions of the Mexican army is the American military hardware and training of special operations that have made them effective. Using drones and other intelligence methods, the US shares this info with the Mexican army to target zones known for drug cartel infestation. Along the border are the cities of Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, McAllen,Texas, Reynosa, Mexico, Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico. The state has 15 international border crossings with the United States and five International airports.
After rival cartels, the Gulf and Zetas engulfed the regions around the cities of Reynosa, Matamoros and Tampico in a small scale war, where dozens of people were shot for the control drug trafficking routes, the Mexican army moved in.
Tamaulipas, is a prime war zone for drug cartels because of its location: it stretches to the Gulf of Mexico and borders Texas. It has been ground zero for many years in the battle with drug cartels. Being next to Texas, cartels fight to control the various routes across the border to spread their drugs.
The army and Federal police have invaded by the thousands setting up four bases near the known the drug trafficking routes. The invasion also will purge the local and government officials, police and other governmental personnel after a vetting process to remove those who are on the cartel's payroll. So far, of the 2000 police vetted, 1000 of them had ties with cartels. Army and police have taken back control of four of the state's largest cities and many key smaller towns along the Rio Grande River. Residents feel much safer but the security within the this state is like a war zone with some checkpoints and random searches across the 8000 miles of roads and highways.
The plan is that once new government officials are appointed, a new police force, sealing off the drug routes and the destruction of the cartels infrastructure, the Mexican army will leave. This type of strategy worked before in Nuevo Leon state, adjacent to Tamaulipas and in Michoacan that is along the Pacific Ocean. However, this will the second time Tamaulipas will be subjected to this strategy.
If it is any indication that this state was totally corrupt with organized crime and cartel connections, US federal agents indicted the former Governor of Tamaulipas, Tomas Yarrington, who remains a fugitive.
The drug cartels have a long reaching arm into all facets of the Mexican government. But, the Mexican army has a firm control there and will be there for at least six months.