The Mexican people on Tuesday witnessed one of their nation's fiercest gunfights between heavily armed drug gang thugs and federal police officers (Federales) since the start of Mexico's drug war in 2006 only a few miles from the U.S.-Mexican border, according to former U.S. narcotics enforcement officer John Kubillen, who has worked in Mexico.
According to the Mexican news media, a small army of gunmen riding in makeshift armored trucks began a battle with federal cops that lasted most of the day. The war-like incident left at least 14 dead in city of Reynosa, which is close to McAllen, Texas.
The government claims the intense battle started with an early-morning, ambush-style attack that killed two federal police officers who were on routine patrol.
As the battle heated up, the commanding officer notified police headquarters who in turn notified the Mexican army. Upon arrival in Reynosa, the soldiers came under fire from four gunmen in an armor-plated pickup truck. The drug cartel members were killed, as were six other gang members in the ensuing gun battle.
The Mexican government claims that two motorists passing through the city were caught in heavy crossfire and died from gunshot wounds.
Mexico's many drug cartels are creating their own fleets of armored vehicles by reinforcing passenger cars and trucks with bullet-resistant metal and glass, according to Kubillen.
Tuesday's full-blown firefight spread to several parts of Reynosa and cartel members blocked access to the streets using buses and tractor-trailers, according to reports.
Violence in Reynosa became commonplace beginning in February 2010 during the Felipe Calderon presidency. That is when the Gulf Cartel enforcers, Los Zetas, and the Gulf Cartel began fighting one another over control of the lucrative drug trade routes into Texas. Los Zetas in time went from being the Gulf Cartel's "muscle" to being its largest rival. Los Zetas is now arguably the most powerful and dangerous of all Mexico's organized crime gangs.