Tamaulipas was the scene of two killings involving multiple victims over the weekend in a spate of violence that may have been precipitated by changing political and criminal dynamics in the northeastern Mexico state.
Early on July 9, a group of armed assailants in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, broke into a residence and killed 11 members of a family, reported Milenio. Less than one hour later, attackers entered a different home in Ciudad Victoria, killing three and injuring four. Of the 14 fatalities, 11 were women and five were minors, according to Milenio.
Tamaulipas' Interior Secretary, Herminio Garza Palacios, said the preliminary investigations suggest the acts of violence were "derived from the disputes between two rival groups in Ciudad Victoria."
Palacios did not specify which groups were involved, but authorities say several factions of the Zetas criminal organization, which are grouped under the denominations Old School Zetas (Zetas Vieja Escuela) and Northeast Cartel (Cártel del Noreste), are fighting for control of the city, reported Sin Embargo.
Taken together, the two incidents are being characterized as the bloodiest massacre ever witnessed in Ciudad Victoria, according to El Mañana.
At least 38 people were reportedly murdered across Mexico over the weekend, including an 11-year-old boy who died following a shoot-out at a family party in Guerrero state.
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Although it hasn't been confirmed that the rival Zetas factions were responsible for the killings, the incident is likely another example of the periodic spasms of violence that come as a result of Mexico's fragmented criminal landscape. For years, Tamaulipas was wracked by insecurity as the Zetas and their progenitors, the Gulf Cartel, fought for control of drug trafficking routes into the United States. Both criminal organizations are now in decline due to the loss of top leadership, but infighting among the groups' factions continues to generate episodes of intense violence.
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It's also possible that the criminal groups in Ciudad Victoria are preparing for a renegotiation of power with the Tamaulipas political elite. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional - PRI) lost recent elections in Tamaulipas after holding power in the state for eight decades. Tamaulipas has a long history of state collusion with organized crime. As in the underworld, a realignment of criminal-political alliances could lead to more frequent flare-ups of violence like the recent incidents in Ciudad Victoria.