900 soldiers arrive to strengthen Tamaulipas police

REYNOSA — Hundreds of Mexican soldiers arrived this past week to help contain the violence that resurfaced across the border state of Tamaulipas since they left at the end of last year.

A total of 900 soldiers from the Secretary of National Defense (SEDENA) arrived to a border city airport Wednesday and were welcomed by Tamaulipas State Gov. Egidio Torre-Cantú.

“My biggest welcome to this extraordinary group that comes to join the efforts put forward every day by many men and women to build a safer Tamaulipas,” Torre-Cantú said in Spanish. “The coordinated work between federal and state forces has been and will continue to be a fundamental factor.”

In 2011, 2,790 Mexican soldiers from SEDENA first arrived in Tamaulipas to reinforce state and local police during an unprecedented surge in violence. Murders in Tamaulipas jumped more than 90 percent and kidnapping reports more than doubled between 2011 and 2012, according to a 2013 travel warning from the U.S. State Department.

El Mañana, a daily newspaper in Tamaulipas reported the capture of 15 high-profile members of cartels operating within the state brought calm to Tamaulipas, but that was broken with the departure of the military in December.

In Reynosa, some 30 patrol vehicles were left inactive after the military police left the city and since then the number of persecutions, shootouts and the burning of vehicles has increased, El Mañana wrote last month.

Last weekend state police killed nine men in two separate incidents after they were attacked by armed assailants.

The first encounter — between state police and a group of armed civilians — occurred a week ago Saturday on the 15th kilometer of Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Mexico, which is across the Rio Grande from Roma.

Authorities suddenly came under gunfire by an unspecified number of people from several vehicles, according to a state news release. Police fired back, killing seven of the alleged assailants. It is unclear if any of the police forces were killed or injured.

The second shootout happened in the city of Valle Hermoso, southwest of Matamoros, early last Sunday, resulting in two deaths, according to a state news release. State police were patrolling Calle 13 — between the colonias of Adolfo Lopez Mateos and Hidalgo — when they came under fire at about 12:30 a.m.

A gunfight ensued between police and a trio of suspects who were shooting out of a gray 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the release states. Two of the three men died during the shootout.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, Gen. Patiño Canchola, of SEDENA, said these efforts in Tamaulipas align with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s orders that all institutions should work together to achieve the objective of a peaceful Mexico.

“Mr. Governor, you can be certain that the performance of these troops will back up at all times the actions of those in charge of public security of the state in their functions, which will make them stronger,” Canchola said in Spanish.