• Violence in Reynosa, a major Mexico border city, has been elevated since late spring.
  • The bloodshed appears to have been sparked by the killing of a Gulf cartel leader.
  • The Gulf cartel, which has dominated much of northeast Mexico, has undergone severe fragmentation, and the remnants left behind are fighting each other for influence.

Mexico’s narco underworld has seen the fragmentation of its major criminal groups in recent years, perhaps none more so than the Gulf and Zetas cartels, whose home turf in northeast Mexico has seen consistently high levels of violence.

In and around Reynosa — a major city across the border from McAllen, Texas — there have been numerous violent clashes between various factions of the Gulf cartel over the past several months.

Reynosa had 144 homicides through September, according to data compiled by the Mexican federal government. That was a 167% increase over the 54 homicides the city had over the same period last year, and a 92% increase over the 75 homicides between January and September 2015. (Federal data is thought to underreport homicides.)

Nearly 60 of Reynosa’s homicides so far this year came in May and June — the weeks after the April 22 killing of Juan Manuel Loisa Salinas in a clash with Mexican authorities.


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