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April 17, 2015

Gunfights, roadblocks rock Mexican city on U.S. border

MEXICO CITY - Gunfights broke out and vehicles were set ablaze on Friday in one of Mexico's biggest cities along the U.S. border, after security forces arrested a leader of one of the main drug gangs in the area.

Parts of Reynosa, a city across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, ground to a halt on Friday afternoon after vehicles were torched and shooting began, authorities said.
Earlier in the day, federal police and marines captured "El Gafe," a leader of the Gulf Cartel, said a spokesman for police in Reynosa, a city of more than 600,000 people in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
A federal government security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified "El Gafe" as Jose Tiburcio Hernandez Fuentes.
Three suspected assailants were killed, and two state police were injured, the Tamaulipas state government said in a statement. The Reynosa police spokesman said two bystanders were apparently killed, but this was not confirmed.
El Gafe was taken to Mexico City, he added.
Reynosa has been one of the most violent cities in Mexico over the past year, wracked by turf wars among the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, two drug gangs that have been fighting for control of border smuggling routes and crime rackets.
"The city is completely out of control," said Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, an opposition senator and ex-mayor of Reynosa.
More than 100,000 people have died in gang-related violence in Mexico over the past eight years.
President Enrique Pena Nieto pledged to restore order when he took office in December 2012, but although the homicide count has fallen, parts of the country remain mired in violence.