CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — At least nine suspected criminals died in gunbattles with government forces Sunday during an anti-cartel operation in the city of Reynosa, which sits across the U.S. border from McAllen, Texas, Mexican authorities said.
The Tamaulipas state government had earlier reported 10 dead in violence that it said erupted early Sunday after soldiers, marines and police began the operation aimed at a drug cartel that operates in Reynosa.
A state police official who insisted on anonymity told The Associated Press that the operation was aimed at arresting the Gulf Cartel's leader in Reynosa. The official would not say if Juan Manuel Loza, also known as "El Comandante Toro," was caught.
The state government said at least three armed clashes occurred over several hours, and gang members also set vehicles on fire and blocked roads. Four soldiers were injured when their vehicle overturned, officials said.
Similar events happened in April 2015 when authorities launched an offensive against another local leader of the Gulf Cartel.
Tamaulipas has suffered through several waves of violence in recent years tied to the drug trade. The Gulf Cartel battled with its former allies in the Zetas cartel for a number of years, but officials say that violence since 2015 has often resulted from a dispute between rival factions of the Gulf Cartel.