Drug cartel chief Jose Tiburcio Hernandez Fuentes was detained on the Mexican-American border this week before a gun battle near the border. Authorities considered Fuentes to be the mastermind behind most of the drug activity in Reynosa. Fuentes, was known by his alias as “El Gafe” (The Jinxed One). After his arrest, he was later transported to a Mexican detainment facility.
The gun battle, as described by KRVG Channel 5 News, near the border occurred about three minutes south of the bus station at Hidalgo’s Border Bridge in Reynosa. Fuentes’ capture occurred amid the gun battle among Mexican police, the army, and 60 of Fuentes’ men. Jose’s men sought to stop his capture, and the resulting gun battle ensued. Although little is known about the three who were killed, authorities said they were “armed civilians.” Two police officers were also injured.
The capture of Fuentes posed a challenge to police because he used eight different fraudulent identities according to the Head of the National Security Commission, Alejandro Rubido. His capture was part of an initiative by the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, to maintain peace within his country. As the head of one of the massive drug cartels in Mexico, the cartel run by Fuentes plagued many parts of Mexico with its activities.
Riots resulted because of the gun battle near the border. Residents were warned by police to stay indoors. Officials stated that vehicles were overturned and then burned as gunmen stormed the area in an attempt to create roadblocks throughout the area to stop the capture of Fuentes. Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, an opposition senator and former mayor of Reynosa, stated that the city is “completely out of control.”
Two rival gangs had battled for control of Reynosa, the Gulf Cartel, and the Zetas. The cartel was weakened by the arrest of several leaders, including Mario Armando Ramirez Trevino, known as “X-20,” in August 2013.
Over 600,000 people reside in Reynosa, making it one of the largest cities in Mexico. It sits along the U.S. border near McAllen, Texas. Together the two cities form a metropolitan area of about two million residents.
The gun battle near the border isn’t the only violence the area has seen. On April 6, it was reported that a police officer in Zacoalco, Mexico, was stabbed to death during a police clash. A witness at the scene, Maria Huerta, said she saw the following.
“[They] stuck a knife in his heart with a message.”