After it was hit by gunfire overnight, the US consulate in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo was temporarily closed while encouraging its employees to stay indoors and directing US citizens to do the same or avoid the area, authorities said on Monday.
As a result of the gunfire and the building’s temporary closure, appointments at the US consulate were canceled.
The Mexican Ministry of public security in the state of Tamaulipas said in a statement that the shots against the consulate and Mexican military premises, the gunfighting and pursuits in parts of the city – which lies opposite Laredo, Texas – followed a gang leader’s arrest.
As truck trailers were set ablaze on roads downtown, a senior Tamaulipas official informed of at least one collateral death as a result of the violence, which included suspected gang members blocking roads, enticed by the arrest of Juan Gerardo Trevino, or “El Huevo.”
Hight on US Border Patrol’s list of most wanted criminals, Trevino, who is also a US citizen, faces extradition in the United States for drug trafficking and money laundering and state charges for terrorism, extortion, murder, and criminal association.
Trevino leads a branch of the Zetas gang, the Cartel of the Northeast, and he’s also boss of “Tropas del Infierno” (Troops from Hell) hitman group.
The media cited Mexico’s government as stressing that criminal organizations involved in the events would face the weight of the law from both the US and Mexico.
While the government also said it would dispatch security reinforcements to the city following the violence, Mayor Carmen Canturosas of Nuevo Laredo urged residents to take extreme precautions as footage posted on social media showed heavy and prolonged bursts of gunfire and cars and trucks being set on fire.
Mexico has been locked in a spiral of cartel-related bloodshed ever since the government launched its controversial anti-drug military operation in 2006 during which more than 340,000 people have been killed as a result of fighting between criminals.