Los Zetas Blamed for Multiple Attacks, Including Car Bomb Near U.S. Border
Suspected drug cartel gunmen opened fire on a hotel being used as a police barracks then attacked it with a car bomb Thursday, wounding eight officers less than 4 miles from the U.S. border, Mexican officials said.
A Tamaulipas state official said authorities believed the Zetas cartel, one of Mexico’s two most powerful criminal organizations, carried out the attack on the Hotel Santa Cecilia in Nuevo Laredo, a city across the border from Laredo, Texas.
The Zetas, founded by Mexican special forces defectors, have carried out a number of sophisticated attacks, but Thursday’s assault appeared to be one of the most elaborate. It also appeared to be the first attack directed against Tamaulipas’ new state police force, which took over a year ago from a municipal police force in Nuevo Laredo that was accused of ineffectiveness and corruption.
The newly commissioned officers, who hail from around the state, were staying in the hotel until permanent barracks were built. Mexican police frequently requisition hotels in the absence of official barracks, or when threats make it unsafe for them to live at home.
The head of state police and Tamaulipas’ attorney general said three of the wounded officers had third-degree burns, while the rest had minor injuries.