The Brownsville Herald reports that the US has temporarily closed its consulate in Nuevo Laraedo following a gunbattle the night of July 28 between drug traffickers armed with grenades, rocket launchers and heavy machine guns. US Ambassador Tony Garza said in a written statement that the consulate would suspend all operations except for emergency services for US citizens through at least Aug. 5. The closure comes two days after Garza announced that escalating violence has prompted the State Department to extend a travel advisory for the entire Mexican side of the border until further notice.
“As part of our security assessment, we will be gauging what should be a swift and certain response from the government of Mexico, to bring this situation under control,” Garza said. Consulate officials in Nuevo Laredo are expected to reschedule visa appointments, putting travel plans on hold for Mexican citizens.
According to the Mexican attorney general’s office, residents of the city’s Colonia Campestre district reported hearing several rounds of shots at a home on the 2400 block of Calle Mexicali around 8 PM. No one was found inside the modest home, but it appeared to have been damaged by rocket launcher blasts and machine-gun rounds. Mexican federal agents discovered an abandoned Chevrolet Tahoe, three AK-47 assault rifles, two 9 mm handguns, a hand grenade and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Agents also found two grenade-damaged vehicles on nearby Calle Anahuac. No injuries or arrests were reported at either location.
According to State Department figures, over 100 have been killed in drug trafficking violence on northern Mexican border since June. At least eight of those deaths include Nuevo Laredo police officers and commanders.
See our last post on Nuevo Laredo.