How the gunfights in north Mexico that left 23 dead unfolded

gun - crime scene

12/03/19 – AP News

By Maria Verza

When dozens of pickup trucks crowded with armed men and mounted machine guns roared into Villa Union, residents of the small town near the U.S. border began to realize they were the target of a military-style invasion. What followed were hours-long gunbattles between a cartel force estimated to number 70 to 150 men and state police that left 23 people dead. At least 50 homes and buildings were riddled with bullet holes.

In the aftermath, authorities found about 20 abandoned vehicles, some with machine-gun turrets and welded armoring; the doors of many were professionally printed with the initials of a drug cartel. At least four had .50 caliber mounted machine guns. Residents claimed there were at least twice that many pickups, with some escaping.

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At least 14 killed in bloody gunfight in northern Mexico

m16 gun closeup

12/2/19 – Reuters

By Dave Graham

Ten suspected cartel gunmen and four police were killed during a shootout on Saturday in a Mexican town near the U.S. border, days after U.S. President Donald Trump raised bilateral tensions by saying he would designate the gangs as terrorists.

The government of the northern state of Coahuila said state police clashed at midday with a group of heavily armed gunmen riding in pickup trucks in the small town of Villa Union, about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the border city of Piedras Negras.

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Report says Mexico state officials ignored massacre

10/9/16 The Washington Post

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 Mexican drug gang bosses furious at suspected turncoats sent commandos aided by local police to seize dozens — perhaps hundreds — of people, murder them and dispose of their bodies in a town near the Texas border, yet state and federal officials ignored the massacre for years, according to a government-backed report released Sunday.

The long delay in the investigation makes it impossible to determine just how many people were killed in the town of Allende in 2011, according to the report sponsored by the federal Executive Commission for Attention to Victims. The Coahuila state file lists 42 missing people related to the case. But a Zeta drug gang member told a U.S. court in 2013 that 300 died, though it was not clear if all the deaths occurred in the same incident.

A witness testified that many of the bodies of victims were incinerated to the point of making identification of remains almost impossible. The report written by Sergio Aguayo, a human rights activist and academic at the elite College of Mexico, is based on testimony gathered by Mexican prosecutors, government and independent human rights organizations, as well as U.S. records.

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Zeta Trial Brings More Tales of Terror and Corruption

07/15/16 InSight Crime

RubenMoreiraAs the trial of Zetas Cartel leader Marciano Millán Vázquez continued in San Antonio, Texas, witnesses took the stand to described how drug traffickers co-opted and controlled media outlets in Coahuila, allegedly bribed the state’s governor  and how Vázquez committed and ordered multiple brutal murders.

Adolfo Efrén Tavira, a former Televisa producer and trafficker for the Zetas, testified for the prosecution. According to Tavira, at Televisa he would edit drug traffickers’ names out news reports, and he would lean on and pay reporters from other media outlets in the area to do the same, Proceso reported.

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Mexico President Claims Homicide Drop Despite Uptick in Killings

07/14/16 InSight Crime 

pena nieto wefThe public relations campaign for Mexico’s militarized crackdown on organized crime and its effectiveness in restoring public security continued this week, but the data doesn’t back up President Enrique Peña Nieto’s claims.

The president assured Mexicans that on a national scale there have been important reductions in homicides, kidnappings and extortions while speaking at the inauguration of a new military barracks in the northern state of Coahuila on July 12, reported El Universal.

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Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico

Norma Alicia Valdez conserves water to clean her home, located in the center of Cuatro Cienegas, a farm and business hub set amid a thriving oasis in Mexico's Coahuila state.  The city now struggles with water shortages related to water extraction for large-scale farming nearby. Valdez' family used to farm 20 hectare of Alfalfa, but when the large companies moved in around them and made wells, just north of the city, near Ocampo, Valdez said her family no longer could find sufficient water. As a result, they now only farm 5 hectare.

The state of Coahuila receives little more than 300 millimeters of rain annually (12 inches). So much water is being pumped in two farm regions near Cuatro Ciénegas to irrigate crops and care for livestock that not early enough is left to supply the pools and marshes. With every passing year, the desert claims more land, more ponds, and more streams that used to be wet.Photo © Janet Jarman/Circle of Blue.

Day 8, our final day of our on-going article excerpts. Check out the blog for more, or head straight to our website for the entire article.

Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico

by Keith Schneider

Industry Still Exuberant

American energy companies spent an average of $US 15 billion a year to develop the Eagle Ford shale since 2008, more than $US 80 billion in total. Mexico authorities think it will take at least $US 100 billion to develop Coahuila’s shale resources.

That figure is well below the $US 662 billion to $US 1.02 trillion in capital spending that Goldman Sachs estimated would be needed to develop Mexico’s shale reserves in an analysis last year.

Some of the difference in cost estimates is the result of the quality of northern Mexico’s shale. Studies in the open geological science literature suggest that the Eagle Ford shale beneath Coahuila differs substantially in structure and carbon composition than the shale beneath Texas. Goldman Sachs researchers also noted in their study that due to the extensive investment in needed infrastructure “we would not anticipate any robust development taking place before 2018-2020.”

The global oil industry, ever audacious in its quest for hydrocarbons, is driven to tap new reserves where they exist, and never more so than during this century. From the icy depths of the Arctic to the perilous high-tech platforms of the Gulf of Mexico, from the isolation of Siberia to the narrow foothill Himalayan valleys of Sichuan, the global energy industry is exploring and tapping new reserves. It’s no surprise that the enthusiasm displayed by the oil and gas industry for northern Mexico’s shale potential is genuine, deep, and characteristically flamboyant.

During a Mexico shale oil and gas summit in San Antonio in February, for instance, business and government authorities rallied around the idea of Coahuila drilling and its role in a U.S.-Mexico-Canada oil and gas alliance capable of competing with OPEC for global leadership in hydrocarbon production.

“The possibility of a North American energy confederation is still something I would like to see on the table – for Canada, Mexico and the United States,” Chris Faulkner, chief executive of the Dallas-based Breitling Energy Corp. told the conference. “It doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar in Washington. But if we could strive for North American energy independence first, we would be the second largest oil producing coalition in the world next to OPEC, and would be incredibly formidable in determining world oil policy.  Mexico is in an excellent position. They know it.”

Former Mexico official pleads guilty in corruption probe

09/17/14 Reuters

justice-systemA former top official in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, whose case became a symbol of Mexican government corruption, has pleaded guilty in Texas to federal money laundering charges, according to court documents. Hector Javier Villarreal Hernandez was charged in Mexico with using his position as Coahuila’s Secretary of Finance to take out nearly a quarter billion dollars in fraudulent loans between 2008 and 2011, using the credit of the state as collateral.

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Chrysler to expand engine plant in Mexico

Reuters, 10/8/2013

chryslerChrysler Group LLC will expand its plant in Mexico to build more of the “Tigershark” engines that will go into many of its passenger cars, sources with knowledge of the issue said on Tuesday.

Chrysler is to spend $164 million to expand the plant, and about 500 jobs will be added, the sources said.

On Thursday, Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne and Mexican President Enrique Pena will be at the Saltillo Engine Plant in Ramos Arizpe in the Mexican state of Coahuila to formally announce the investment and new jobs, a Chrysler spokesman said.

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Children’s Hospital To Be Inaugurated in Chihuahua (Spanish)

Photo Credit: Kelly DonlanMilenio, 4/10/2013

A pediatric specialty hospital will be inaugurated on April 30th in Chihuahua. According to DIF state president, Bertha Gomez Duarte, this facility plans to serve Chilren from the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, and Coahuila.

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“Narcotiendita” is dismantled in Mexico (Spanish)

cocaineProceso, 2/26/2013

The Ministry of Public Security in Coahuila reported that state prison authorities dismantled a clandestine “narcotiendita” ( drug business)  that sold cocaine and marijuana in the Men’s Social Rehabilitation Center in Saltillo.

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