March 16, 2014
A total of three armed suspects were killed in two separate incidents in Tamaulipas state since Thursday, and a Mexican federal police official was assassinated, according to official Mexican government news accounts.
According to a new release posted on the state government website of Tamaulipas, last Friday night a Mexican Army road patrol intercepted a convoy of at least two vehicles in ejido El Olivo near Recinto Ferial in Matamoros municipality. The suspects in the vehicles fired on the army patrol and return fire by soldiers hit and killed two.
As others in the convoy managed to escape, both of the dead were left on the roadway. The report said the men who were killed were both in their 20s. Soldiers seized one AK-47 rifle, weapons magazines and ammunition, and one Chevrolet Malibu sedan.
Meanwhile in Reynosa municipality, one armed suspect was killed in an apparent traffic stop attempt by a Mexican Army road patrol.
The incident took place at around 1200 hrs near the intersection of Bulevar Tiburcio Garza Zamora and Calle San Luis in Rodríguez colony, where the army patrol attempted the stop, but were instead fired on by the driver, said to be in his 20s, who was aboard a Chevrolet Tornado pickup truck.
Soldiers seized one AR-15 rifle in the aftermath, as well as the vehicle.
The day before in Gonzalez municipality, an unidentified Policia Federal Preventativa inspector was shot and killed at 1015 hrs near the intersection of Avenida Insurgentes and Calle Honduras in Aviacion de Villa Manuel colony.
Suspects aboard a Chevrolet pickup truck are suspected in the attack.
Secretario de Seguridad Publica del Estado resigns
According to a news release on the Tamaulipas state website, Tamaulipas’ Secretario de Seguridad Publica del Estado> (SSPE) resigned his position after 36 months in office.
Lomeli Martinez was said to have personal reasons for his resignation. The website report notes that Lomeli Martinez oversaw the certification of police in the state, the worst record in Mexico at only 43 percent of police certified to work as police as of last fall. At the time, police certifications were due to be complete, but Mexico’s national Chamber of Deputies extended the deadline another year, the third extension in four years.
Replacing Lomeli Martinez is Brigade General Arturo Gutierrez Garcia, who was formerly chief of staff of the Mexican IV Military Region, based in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon between 2012 and 2013. Searches of government websites yield little in the way of former commands for the general, although Mexican civilian press says he has extensive field experience.
The Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA), controlling agency for the Mexican Army indicates that General Gutierrez Garcia has served as military attache to Honduras a few years ago.
It must be noted that Lomeli Martinez, himself a former Mexican Army first captain, became SSPE just as the mass graves in San Fernando were being discovered. The total dead found was 193, the worst in the Mexican Drug War.
His predecessor, Brigadier General Ubaldo Ayala Tinoco, resigned his position after only 107 days in the wake of the discovery of the immensity of the mass murders in San Fernando municipality.
Command Shuffling in Northeast Mexico
Both of the two command units covering Tamaulipas have undergone changes of command since last December, 2013. Every November, the SEDENA comes out with its latest promotions of flag officers, and sometimes with it new commanders are reassigned. The Mexican Army likes its commanders to have extensive experience in the field, and so commanders tend to stay in place, so that they may train new subordinates. Normal command shuffling takes place in June, but sometimes they are known to take place directly after the promotions lists come out.
Th IV Military Region, which includes Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi states, recently experienced a change of command as General de Division Tomas Jaime Aguirre Cervantes took command of the region last December, according to data supplied by Milenio news daily.
General Aguirre Cervantes has extensive command experience commanding several military zones including the 11th, 33rd and 40th Zones. He has taught at Mexico’s Escuela Superior de Guerra and was commandant of Heroico Colegio Militar. His other assignments include work in intelligence and in counterintelligence.
He replaces General Noe Sandoval Alcazar, who took an administrative job for SEDENA in Mexico City.
Meanwhile the 8th Military Zone, a subordinate unit to the IV Military Region, experienced a change of command as General de Brigada Pedro Felipe Gurrola Ramirez took command, replacing General de Brigada Miguel Gustavo Gonzalez Cruz, according to a news report in El Manana news daily.
General Gurrola Ramirez is a special forces soldier with command experience in Culican in Sinaloa state and in Chiapas state.