Tony Garza, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, recently described a brutal gun battle that took place on July 28 in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, between “armed criminal groups,” as having “included unusually advanced weapons.” This since the combatants used an arsenal that combined automatic weapons, bazookas and hand grenades, in the attack on an apparent safe house of one drug cartel by those of another.
Actually, hundreds of different caliber shells were subsequently found at the war zone-like scene, along with AK-47 rifles, handguns and ski masks. And if that is not disturbing enough, a state policeman who asked not to be identified said that investigators found numerous photographs of municipal police officers at the residence, an apparent hit list of officials sentenced to death. Further intelligence revealed that each of the photographs listed the officer’s name and assigned location, along with maps to their homes.
As a result of this firefight and other killings, kidnappings and criminal acts in the violence-torn city across the border from Laredo, Garza declared that the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo would be closed, temporarily at least.
And then, on Aug. 5, Nuevo Laredo City Councilman Leopoldo Ramos Ortega was shot dead as he innocently sat in his truck. Ramos also chaired the council’s security committee.
The targeting of law enforcement officials on both sides of the border, and specifically the planning and routine execution of Nuevo Laredo police officers and city officials shows that the specter of terrorism is hiding out in the open along our national border with Mexico, although not everyone sees this clearly.