'El Chapo' Rival Extradited To U.S. As Key Witness Against Cartel Leader darkside-550/ Pixabay

The arrest of cartel leader Heriberto Rodríguez Hernández, better known locally by his nickname “Negrolo” or “Negro 35,” was followed by violence in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo on Monday. Police and gang members traded bullets in the streets, prompting city officials to cancel classes, and an advisory from the U.S. Consulate to shelter in place. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the shootings were a direct response to the cartel leader’s capture but more details are yet to be confirmed. The Northeast cartel, an offshoot of the old Zetas gang, was said to have been responsible for the shootouts.

The U.S. Consulate in the city canceled visa appointments on Monday amid the violence said Associated Press. The consulate stated there were reports of gunfire in multiple locations throughout the city and advised people to remain in their homes and standby for further information.

An officer from the military said the arrested suspect was the leader of the infamous “Troops of Hell.” a kill squad from the Northeast cartel. The squad is believed to be the enforcing arm of the cartel and has a history of repeated shootouts with law enforcement as well as the military.

Bus services were said to have been suspended, said Mayor Carmen Lilia Canturosas, as she reported the risk situations at different points in the city. In videos posted on social media, bursts of gunfire could be heard in Nuevo Laredo, even in the early hours. By mid-day, the mayor updated that the situation in the city was starting to calm down.

Breakouts of violence are a common response by cartels to the arrests of their leading members, creating chaos to pressure authorities to release the suspects or to prevent their detention or transfer. Monday’s incident is the second breakout of violence in Nuevo Laredo this year, after the arrest of a capo in March was met with gunfire and burning vehicles, causing the U.S. Consulate to close as well as the border crossings to shut down. The suspect arrested in March was another commander of the “Troops of Hell,” Juan Gerardo Treviño, a nephew of imprisoned Zetas leader Miguel Angel Treviño.

File picture of Mexican Federal Police
A unit of the Mexican Federal Police patrols the surroundings of the Puente Grande State prison (background) in Zapotlanejo, Jalisco State, Mexico, on 9 August, 2013 where former top Mexican cartel boss Rafael Caro Quintero -- who masterminded the kidnap and murder of a US anti-drug agent in 1985 -- was informed early Friday that a court ordered his release. A criminal court in the western state of Jalisco approved Rafael Caro Quintero's release on August 7, a court official who asked not to be identified told AFP. Caro Quintero has served 28 years in prison for the 1985 murder of US Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique Camarena, who was kidnapped in Guadalajara and tortured and murdered. Photo by Hector Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

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