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Monday, 22 March 2010

Narcobloqueos Monterrey criminals commandeered dozens of tractor-trailer trucks and other vehicles to block Streets

12:09 |

bustling commercial city of Monterrey, where the authorities said criminals commandeered dozens of tractor-trailer trucks and other vehicles on Thursday and Friday to block more than 30 streets and highways. The blockades, called narcobloqueos by the Mexican news media, resulted in traffic chaos, with the trucks parked horizontally across highways and vehicles jammed up behind them.
Luis Carlos Treviño Berchelmann, head of public security for the state of Nuevo León, which encompasses Monterrey, described the blockades as a response by the drug cartels to recent antidrug offensives by the government. Other government officials agreed, labeling the stealing of vehicles and abandonment of them on busy highways as a desperate attempt by drug gangs to show their power. The chaotic scenes that the criminals created did give the impression they had the upper hand. Local newspapers described young men carrying stones, baseball bats and, in some cases, even more deadly weapons, assaulting drivers and stealing their vehicles, only to leave the cars abandoned at odd angles on roadways. In some cases, the vehicles were shot up or burned. Across northern Mexico, rival drug gangs have been clashing fiercely among themselves and with the authorities. On Friday, the army said it had killed two trafficking suspects during a shootout at the front gates of a prestigious private university in Monterrey. Over the weekend it emerged that the two victims were students. On Saturday, there were 53 killings across the country, making it one of the deadliest days in the past three years, Mexican newspapers reported. The sense of lawlessness around Monterrey, a main commercial hub in Mexico’s northeast and home to many American business operations, prompted the State Department to recommend recently that Americans avoid using highways that run between the city and the United States border. Friday’s traffic problems in Monterrey began early, about 3 a.m., when a bus was left blocking a bridge at the intersection of two large avenues, the newspaper Milenio reported. Later, abandoned vehicles were found scattered across the city and surrounding municipalities, the authorities said. As of Friday, one state official was quoted in the local media as saying that two men had been detained. Such mass actions by Mexico’s drug gangs are not unprecedented. Eager to encourage the authorities to back off, drug gangs have organized street protests in Monterrey in the past and blocked some of the bridges running between Mexico and the United States, Mexican authorities said.

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