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Cartel gunmen attempt brazen armed rescue of Los Zetas boss from border state prison

December 24, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cartel gunmen attempt brazen armed rescue of Los Zetas boss from border state prison

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An audacious failed rescue attempt by Los Zetas cartel gunmen sparked hours of fierce gun battles Thursday morning in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.

The operation was deemed a failure for the cartel as officials managed to move out a drug boss and his cadre to a federal facility.

State and federal police officers gathered at the state prison in the early morning hours on Friday to transfer out 12 prisoners, who are facing organized crime charges, into a federal facility.

The purported cartel gunmen targeted a prison transfer to rescue Victor “El Karate” Becerra Garcia and other Los Zetas lieutenants who managed control of the establishment from inside, Proceso reported.

Becerra-Garcia is alleged to not only have controlled the facility but also stands accused of ordering attacks on his rivals from behind prison walls.

The armed assailants carried out the assault despite the exterior of the penitentiary being guarded by elements of the Army while state and local police units carried out operations inside the facility.

During the transfer, locals began calling authorities regarding large-scale gun battles and detonations on the city’s south side.

Although several people were reportedly injured, it’s not clear if the fighting led to any fatalities. On Thursday morning, state officers and military troops blocked off various streets as investigators scanned crime scenes.

At a press conference, the new Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Javier Cabeza de Vaca said the measures taken by the criminal element intended to rescue senior ranking figures of the Zetas who were housed at the detention center.

“We will bring order in Tamaulipas, reestablish the rule of law and the harsh penalties for violating the laws of our state without exception,” Javier said.

Two rival factions of the Los Zetas cartel have been engulfed in a brutal fight for control of lucrative drug trafficking routes and territories. The ongoing violence has led to near daily kidnappings, gun battles, and bloody executions.

The fight for control of these drug territories has also spread into the prison population. In Ciudad Victoria, the state prison is a minimum-security facility with 1,000 beds, however, in recent months the jail has been crowded with approximately 1,300 prisoners.

In the adjoining state of Nuevo León, law enforcement officials have seen many prison riots as a result of the power struggle between the rival cartel groups. This fighting has killed dozens of inmates.

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