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REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — Claiming the criminal phenomenon is different in every state in Mexico, the Governor of Tamaulipas says it is necessary to develop regional strategies to confront delinquent and criminal groups.

“The criminal phenomenon is different in every region of our country. That is why we need to apply comprehensive strategies in every state to be able to confront these type of crimes,” Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca said while visiting this border town.

Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca

The Governor made his comments on the second day of violent unrest on the streets of Reynosa. Rival gangs from as far afield as Matamoros, Miguel Aleman, Victoria and Nuevo Laredo are in Reynosa to seize control of a highly lucrative drug-running corridor. A void was created in the wake of the recent killing of Julián Manuel Loisa Salinas, the Reynosa kingpin known as “El Comandante Toro.”

Buses have been overturned to block off streets, as a means of trapping rival gangs. Heeding official warnings, tens of thousands of residents have stayed at home or traveled to McAllen to escape the conflict. Shops and streets are empty and all schools and colleges have been closed.

Some of the shooting has occurred near Reynosa’s industrial plants near the Pharr and Anzalduas international bridges. This led to the cancelation of a bus tour of Reynosa’s maquila plants by McAllen Economic Development Corporation and Leadership McAllen.

García Cabeza de Vaca thinks that Tamaulipas is different to other states because, for instance, it has 17 international bridges, is the state with the highest percentage of immigrants, and also carries crimes such as the theft of gas and the smuggling of guns from the United States.

“Gun sales in the United States is one of the main problems because 80 percent of confiscated guns in Tamaulipas are coming from America,” García Cabeza de Vaca said.
The Governor is in favor of demanding the United States to put a stop to the gun market, because “it’s there where members of criminal groups are able to reinforce themselves.”

According to the Governor, there’s a need for more federal participation in the fight against criminal groups around the state. As an example, he mentioned that Petróleos Mexicanos (the Mexican oil and gas company otherwise known as PEMEX), and Customs need to make a bigger effort to avoid being affected by those criminal activities.

He explained that the theft of gas is a federal crime, not a state crime.

“This is why I offered Petroleos Mexicanos a covenant to avoid this type of crime,” he said. “Revenues from selling stolen gas only enforces criminal structures.”
In Reynosa, the Governor made a promise to destroy the financial structure of criminal groups.

“There won’t be more simulations in Tamaulipas. We have requested Customs and Petroleos Mexicanos to work harder and stop allowing activities that only reinforce those groups whose only purpose is to damage the State,” García Cabeza de Vaca said.

Furthermore, he thinks that once the financial structure of the criminal organizations is weakened, the State will be able to recover much needed peace, and a whole generation of adolescents will be rescued. He is referring to those teenage delinquents who saw in the criminal groups the only opportunity to progress.

“The criminal groups fight for the riot, the money, the contraband inside customs, the human trafficking, the drug transfer, and the contraband of guns, as well as illegal casinos, and all type of federal crimes,” he said. “Even though we recognize the effort made by the Army, federal forces, Marines, and Federal Police, there is much more that needs to be done.”

He claimed that a solution to problems such as corruption, impunity, wrongdoing, and insecurity, will take time because government and society need to take a variety of steps and efforts.

“We need to take different actions to go back to live in order, eliminate any corruption from the root, to stop any complicity with authorities; purify our police department and invite new recruits to work inside the Secretary of Public Security and the Attorney General. And these new recruits will need to be trained and certified,” García Cabeza de Vaca said. “Only a few citizens are part of the violence. The great majority of our population are good people.”

In Reynosa, García Cabeza de Vaca took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the pediatric oncologic unit at the Hospital Materno Infantil.

Editor’s Note: Reporter Steve Taylor contributed to this story from Reynosa, Tamaulipas.