Drug cartel violence escalating in Mexican state of Tamaulipas

By Andrew V. Pestano

NUEVO PROGRESO, Mexico, March 3 (UPI) -- Blockades have been set up on a highway near the Mexican border town of Nuevo Progreso, where two people died in a shootout on Saturday.

The blockades on the Reynosa-Matamoros highway were placed Monday morning. The recent shootout adds to the ongoing violence in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.


More than 12 people died in shootouts in the cities of Reynosa and Matamoros in early February. An explosive was also found outside Matamoros City Hall, but it did not detonate.

That same week, a Mexican newspaper editor for the daily El Mañana was kidnapped, beaten and later released. Most of the staff of the newspaper resigned due to fear.

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Rivaling factions of the Gulf Cartel from Matamoros and Reynosa have had shootouts in public places that have claimed innocent victims.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning and said that Americans should not travel to the state of Tamaulipas unless necessary. Government employees are currently prohibited from personal travel to Tamaulipas except to the central areas of two cities, Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo.

"Due to the likelihood of increased violence in the Matamoros vicinity, American Consulate staff has been advised to restrict travel from home to work only until further notice," the Consulate General of the United States for Matamoros said in a statement. "Be mindful of your surroundings and the vehicles driving next to you."

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