23 dead after cartel launched bloody attack in Coahuila

Heavy gunfire began ringing out in Villa Unión and a convoy of armed pickup trucks could be seen around town

23 dead after cartel launched bloody attack in Coahuila
Members of a drug cartels attacked the small town Villa Unión in northern Mexico - Photo: José Luis González/EL UNIVERSAL
English 01/12/2019 12:36 Reuters Mexico City Dave Graham, Noe Torres Actualizada 14:05
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This weekend, security forces shot dead 17 cartel gunmen after the criminals launched an attack on Villa Unión, a town located in the northern state of Coahuila. This incident comes days after Donald Trump announced his intentions to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists.

The criminals riddled the Villa Unión’s mayor’s office with bullets. State police then chased the alleged cartel members after they fled the town, killing seven in the early hours of Sunday, the Coahuila government said in a statement.

The government of Coahuila said state police clashed with a group of 60 heavily armed gunmen from the “Cartel of the Northeast” (Cartel del Noroeste) riding in pickup trucks in Villa Unión.

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At noon, heavy gunfire began ringing out in Villa Unión and a convoy of armed pickup trucks could be seen driving around town, according to videos posted by social media users.

Standing outside the Villa Unión mayor’s bullet-ridden offices, Coahuila Governor Miguel Ángel Riquelme told reporters the state had acted “decisively” to tackle the cartel henchmen.

The governor added that an unspecified number of people were missing, including some who were at the mayor’s office.

On December 3, state authorities announced that in total, 23 people died in the violent incident registered last Saturday.

In a statement by the Coahuila government, it announced that security forces killed 17 suspected cartel gunmen. Unfortunately, four police officers died, as well as two unarmed civilians.

Ten suspected cartel members have been arrested.

The state government also announced that security forces rescued three minors and two adults who had been kidnapped by the criminals. Moreover, 6 police officers are injured.

After the incident, the government seized 22 vehicles and 27 weapons.

The events in Villa Unión are the latest violence incidents that have struck Mexico's northern area, which have also sparked concern and criticism against President López Obrador's security strategy.

Are drug cartels terrorist organizations?

Just last month, cartel gunmen massacred nine women and children with dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship, who belonged to the LeBarón community. In late October, Mexican armed forces released Ovidio Guzmán, the son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, after cartel gunmen wreaked havoc in the city of Culiacán.

For decades, Coahuila has registered gang violence, nevertheless, the homicide total in the state is below where it was 7 years ago.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is set to visit Mexico next week, in order to discuss cooperation over security between Mexico and the U.S.

It has now emerged that the cartel members kidnapped two American hunters from Texas. According to the New York Post, the captors told the two Americans that they “don’t hurt Americans” and “washed one of their trucks.”

Donald Chapman and Colby Williams were on a hunting trip in Mexico when they were kidnapped by cartel members.

According to the victims, the gunmen were after their two trucks. The hunters gave the cartel members food and water; they were apparently lost.

The gunmen then ordered the Americans to help them flee.

“They used us to get where they wanted to be, which was home and their families,” Williams told the Daily Beast.

After 11 hours, the cartel gunmen released the American hunters after reaching their destination.

When the Texans arrived home, they realized security forces were trying to find them. Law enforcement had contacted their families.

Both American hunters said they’ll never go deer hunting in Mexico again.


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