U.S. consulate in Mexico to temporarily close following gunfire after gang boss arrest

MEXICO CITY, March 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. consulate in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo will close temporarily after it was hit by gunfire overnight, and trailers were set ablaze on roads downtown after a gang leader's arrest, authorities said on Monday.

Shots against the consulate and Mexican military premises were reported amid gunfighting and pursuits in parts of the city that lies opposite Laredo, Texas, the ministry of public security in the state of Tamaulipas said in a statement.

Suspected gang members paralyzed traffic in Nuevo Laredo early Monday by blocking roads with spike strips and setting fire to trailer trucks, the statement said.

The U.S. consulate advised its employees to stay indoors and urged U.S. citizens to do the same or avoid the area. The consulate will be temporarily closed to the public, the Mexican government said later in a statement.

A senior Tamaulipas official told Reuters there was at least one "collateral" fatality due to the violence.

The gunfight followed the arrest of Juan Gerardo Trevino, or "El Huevo," on Sunday, Mexico's government said in a statement.

Trevino is facing a U.S. extradition order for drug trafficking and money laundering, as well as state-level charges for murder, terrorism, extortion and criminal association, it added.

He is also a U.S. citizen, a Mexican government official told Reuters. Trevino is on a list of the U.S. Border Patrol's most wanted criminals, according to media reports.

The Mexican statement named Trevino as the leader of the Cartel of the Northeast, a branch of the Zetas gang, as well as boss of hitman group "Tropas del Infierno" (Troops from Hell).

The arrest represents a "forceful blow" to the cartel's power in the region, Mexico's government said.

The government said in its later statement it was committed to security cooperation with the United States and that crime organizations involved in the incident will face the weight of the law of both countries.

Reporting by Tomas Bravo and Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Dave Graham and Kylie Madry; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Richard Chang & Shri Navaratnam

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