May 22, 2011

Whack-a-mole: How Gulf Cartel plaza boss' arrest may affect Miguel Alemán unclear

A report from the border city of McAllen, Texas on recent events just across the river, in Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, Mexico

How Gulf Cartel plaza boss' arrest may affect Miguel Alemán unclear | gulf, cartel, battles - "Whether the capture of a top Gulf Cartel lieutenant in Reynosa on Friday may trigger a new wave of turf battles remains to be seen, experts said Saturday.

Mexican federal police captured Gilberto “El Tocayo” Barragan Balderas at his birthday party Friday afternoon at a ranch near Reynosa.

Authorities say Barragan, 41, allegedly was the head of the cartel’s plaza in Miguel Alemán, across the border from Roma, and was tasked with defending “territory in Tamaulipas against attacks by the rival Zetas,” Mexican federal police said in a statement.

Miguel Alemán has marked a loose dividing line between territory controlled by the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, their former allies until a split in early 2010 unleashed turf battles across Tamaulipas state and northeast Mexico.

Several businesses in the city, including car dealerships and retailers, suffered severe damage after enforcers with the Zetas unleashed a rampage across the town of 27,000 in late April.

Despite that attack, the Zetas did not retake control over the area.

Whether the Gulf Cartel will maintain control over Miguel Alemán after losing Barragan “could depend on how their hierarchy is set up,” said Will Glaspy, who heads the McAllen office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration."

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