CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — A commando of men dressed in military gear and carrying rifles burst into a prosecution holding facility in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, and freed the local leader of the Gulf cartel.
Prosecutors in the state of Tamaulipas said Wednesday the assault occurred around 7 p.m. Tuesday after the man was detained by police near Reynosa.
He was being held pending an initial appearance before a judge. The commando subdued guards and took the suspect with them.
Prosecutors identified the detained suspect by his nickname, “Calamardo.” That is the name used by José Alfredo Hernández Campos, who is also known as “El Metro 27”.
Police fanned out looking for the commando and the escaped suspect, and prosecutors said they came under fire from one vehicle. Police returned fire, killing one of the occupants and detaining another.
One of those suspects had an identification card purportedly from the Defense Department, though it was not clear if it was genuine. Both had rifles and wore military-style camouflage clothing.
Another two suspects were detained later.
The Metros are one of the larger factions of the now-splintered Gulf cartel, who have been fighting rival factions for control of the area.
Assaults by cartel gunmen to free captured suspects are not uncommon in Tamaulipas, where remnants of the Gulf cartel and the old Zetas gang have been carrying out turf battles for more than a decade. The border cities are lucrative routes for smuggling drugs and migrants.