Mexico kills Gulf cartel boss in Reynosa shootout

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican marines killed a drug gang leader in a gun battle that raged through the night across the border city of Reynosa and left dozens of burned vehicles in its wake, the government said on Saturday.

Reynosa, just south of Texas, is in Tamaulipas state, which has long been a major transit point for traffickers moving drugs into the United States. Turf wars between the rival Gulf Cartel and Zetas gangs have racked the state for years, and in recent years some of Mexico’s worst drug violence has hit Tamaulipas.

Marines also killed a lower-level Zetas gang member in a separate firefight in the state capital of Ciudad Victoria, a security official said on Saturday on condition on anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In the battle in Reynosa, marines killed Juan Manuel Loza, also known as “El Toro,” the security official said. The government had identified him as the Gulf Cartel’s leader in Reynosa.

TV images showed burning buses and trailers and several buildings that were allegedly set on fire by drug gang members as obstacles to the marines.

Milenio TV reported more than 70 fires that destroyed at least four buildings. Residents reported hearing a series of explosions during the early hours, Milenio said.

In Ciudad Victoria, marines killed Francisco Carreon, alias “El Pancho Carreon.” According to the security official, he was a lower-level member of the Zetas gang, which was formerly a group of enforcers made up of ex-military members who worked for the Gulf Cartel.

Earlier this month, the state’s former governor, Tomas Yarrington, was arrested in Italy earlier this month. He faces charges by a Texas federal grand jury of taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Gulf Cartel and other drug traffickers.

Editing by Jonathan Oatis