Gang shootout in northern Mexico leaves four dead - officials

Three members of the powerful Mexican Gulf Cartel are dead after a shootout and a car chase with law enforcement.

 Plastic flowers are seen at crosses set up in memory of four policemen who were killed a year ago in a shoot-out with alleged gang members in La Barca November 27, 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEJANDRO ACOSTA)
Plastic flowers are seen at crosses set up in memory of four policemen who were killed a year ago in a shoot-out with alleged gang members in La Barca November 27, 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEJANDRO ACOSTA)

A car chase and shootout between gang members and law enforcement near Mexico's northern border has left three members of the powerful Gulf Cartel dead along with one bystander, officials said on Saturday.

The incident began on Friday evening in the border city of Matamoros, when military and police officers attempted to halt several suspicious vehicles, officials from the northern state of Tamaulipas said in a statement.

Gang members fired on the security forces, set up 15 blockades across the city and set fire to several cars. Some also took off on foot into downtown Matamoros.

It was the second major incident in Matamoros in less than a week. Last Sunday, videos on social media showed a line of cars speeding through the city accompanied by rapid gunfire and flying bullets.

From 2019 until March of this year, Matamoros had been home to a sprawling camp of migrants who were ordered to stay in Mexico while waiting for asylum claims to be processed in the United States under a Trump-era policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

 Migrants who traveled to northern Mexico seeking asylum in the United States, carry jugs of purified water at a migrant encampment in Matamoros, Mexico February 20, 2021. Picture taken February 20, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DANIEL BECERRIL) Migrants who traveled to northern Mexico seeking asylum in the United States, carry jugs of purified water at a migrant encampment in Matamoros, Mexico February 20, 2021. Picture taken February 20, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/DANIEL BECERRIL)

The program has been heavily criticized by migrant advocates for sending asylum seekers to crime-ridden border cities, such as Matamoros, for lengthy waits.

US President Joe Biden has attempted to end the policy, but his administration for now is taking steps to comply with a court ruling to keep the policy in place as of mid-November.