Cartel shootout near southern border leaves 21 dead: Report

There has been increased discussion in recent weeks about President Donald Trump’s declared intention to officially designate some or all of the Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations in a move to combat the scourge of drug and human trafficking and related violence.

That potential move has been strenuously opposed by both the Mexican government — for sovereignty reasons — as well as by Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who both routinely downplay the threats of violence at the southern border. But a recent gun battle near the border that left at least 21 people dead has only served to support the idea that the cartels should be designated as terrorist organizations and dealt with accordingly, Breitbart reported.

Cartel invades rural town

On Saturday, more than a dozen trucks — some of which were fitted with makeshift armor and had machine guns mounted atop the beds — that were filled with scores of gunmen affiliated with the Cartel Del Noreste faction of the Los Zetas cartel left the border city of Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas and traveled to the small town of Villa Union in the neighboring state of Coahuila.

After arriving in Coahuila, the assailant-filled trucks — emblazoned with the CDN logo of the violent cartel faction — opened fire on the city hall building situated in the town’s central plaza.

Local police officers bravely attempted to fight back against the cartel assault force but were soon pushed back and forced to abandon numerous police vehicles that were torched as the prolonged gun battle raged.

However, reinforcements soon arrived in the form of state police units and local police officers from nearby municipalities, and the gunmen were eventually forced to leave the city in a sort of retreat that featured chases and running shootouts that spilled over into neighboring cities and towns.

Substantial casualties

In the end, authorities revealed that 14 cartel gunmen, four police officers, and three civilians had been killed in the cartel-instigated gun battle in Coahuila, with at least six others being injured with gunshot wounds in the firefight.

Mexican government officials later added that an additional seven cartel gunmen were killed in a related gunfight that occurred in the nearby town of Nuevo Leon.

There was no word yet on whether any additional police officers or civilians had been killed or wounded in the separate, but related shootouts outside of Coahuila.

Countering the cartels

Breitbart noted that the figures provided by authorities were based on initial reports, and it is quite likely that the toll of dead and wounded could easily be increased in the coming days as investigations into what occurred are completed.

Unfortunately, this incident is but the latest example of how the Mexican drug cartels have few qualms about resorting to violence in their struggles to maintain control and influence over rival factions, local governments, and the Mexican government as a whole.

This event further proves that designating some or all of the Mexican drug cartels — particularly the Los Zetas and its northern faction — as Foreign Terrorist Organizations is an increasingly necessary move that will provide more resources and tools that can be used against the organizations that rely of imposing terror on the Mexican people as part of their criminal enterprises.

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