Gunmen ambush family and kill U.S. child
The incident took place on Saturday night, in an isolated road near the U.S. border - Photo: Alejandro Acosta/REUTERS

Gunmen ambush family and kill U.S. child

Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
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The attack took place in Tamaulipas, one of the most violent states in Mexico

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A 13-year-old American child was killed over the weekend after the vehicle where she and her family were traveling in came under fire on a highway in the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

The attack took place in Tamaulipas, one of the most violent states in Mexico. Baltazar Martínez Ríos, the mayor of Cerralvo, Nuevo León, told U.S. media that the attack happened near Nuevo Guerrero and not Ciudad Mier as initially reported.

Sources said the family was traveling on an isolated road on Saturday night.

According to reports, the gunmen told the family to stop but when they failed to follow their instructions, the armed men crashed against them and shot them.

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The state has been besieged by crime for years, as several cartels fight over lucrative cross-border drug trafficking and smuggling routes and control of other illicit activities.

The child’s 10-year-old brother, also a U.S. citizen, was injured in the attack, along with the children’s parents, who are Mexican nationals but legal residents of the United States.

The boy, his 48-year-old father, and 42-year-old mother all remain in a local hospital in a “serious but stable” condition.

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In a statement, state authorities said the family lives in the United States and that an investigation had been launched.

“Initial reports indicate the victims were traveling Saturday evening toward the border to continue on to the United States, where they reside, when armed individuals stopped them and shot at them,” the statement said.

The family was traveling in a truck and accompanied by another vehicle driven by a relative who was also injured in the attack, the statement said. Both vehicles had Oklahoma license plates.

The statement said a third vehicle with Tamaulipas plates was found at the scene and was likely used by the attackers but it was abandoned later.

The area where the attack took place is being disputed by rival cartels as the Gulf Cartel controls Ciudad Mier and Nueva Ciudad Guerrero is controlled by Los Zetas.

In 2010, after Los Zetas Cartel split from the Gulf Cartel, Ciudad Mier turned into a battleground for both drug cartels. The violence forced the majority of inhabitants to flee the area.

In recent times, a branch of Los Zetas, known as the Northeast Cartel, expanded to Ciudad Mier, Miguel Alemán, Camargo, and other communities controlled by the Gulf Cartel.

Photographs taken at the crime scene showed the initials of the Northeast Cartel painted on the back on one of the vehicles.

The armed attack takes place weeks after the U.S. government advised its citizens not to visit certain areas in Mexico.

The statement issued by the U.S. explained that: “Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state in marked and unmarked vehicles and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa northwest to Nuevo Laredo.”


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