Organized crime watches Nuevo Laredo inch by inch


40% of the merchandise exchanged between Mexico and the United States passes through Nuevo Laredo, but since 2003 security has not been in charge of the military.

It is a lie that there are cities that belong to no one. In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, every inch of land has an owner who claims every movement of a city that is trapped. An owner that no one names, but who makes murmurs the language in this city.

In this border city there is a paradox: it has a powerful economic activity, 40 percent of the merchandise exchanged between Mexico and the United States passes through there; 16 thousand cargo trucks cross a day, and 24 percent of foreign trade operations are concentrated throughout the country.

On the other hand, it is one of the cities where its inhabitants consider it unsafe to live. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) from June of this year, 73.4 percent of the population of Nuevo Laredo considers their city to be unsafe.

In Nuevo Laredo there has been no municipal police since 2003. The single command, made up of the military and the National Guard, is the body in charge of security. Mayor Carmen Lilia Canturosas accepts that the military presence has increased, and she will continue to do so because it is not yet time to re-create a municipal police force.

There are two receptions for visitors. The first, at the airport, in charge of the National Guard, which incisively checks travelers’ documents in search of migrants.

The second comes from a falcon of a criminal group that, based on the foreign license plates of the van in which we journalists are transported to the railway bridge operated by Canadian Pacific Kansas City, signals us to stop.

The falcon, a man of no more than 30 years old, with a thin mustache, short hair and a thick face, gets out of his white, dilapidated truck, from where he watches that nothing and no one enters the city without his gaze examining it.

When the truck stops, the falcon talks to the driver: They exchange a few sentences and, with a worried face, he approaches him to open the door. The man asks a couple of questions in his northern accent.

-Where are they coming from? What are they coming for? Where are they from?

None of those present dare to speak. The words ‘journalists’ and ‘reporters’ were about to appear, but no one dared to let them escape their mouths.

“From the railroad, from Kansas City,” someone says. And, in unison, we all nodded, with a “yes”.

-Are you sure they’re all from Kansas? –says the falcon.

“Yes, all from Kansas,” we respond with a slight delay.

‘We want to highlight the benefits of the city’

When in doubt, the man begins to record the faces of the crew members with his cell phone and requests identification. Since we do not have a Kansas credential, we show the INE one.

-Are they all Mexicans? –He questioned.

-Everyone, everyone –we respond.

After verifying that none of the crew members are migrants, the man launches a corollary to his arrest, which lasts just a few minutes.

-Were they disrespected, were their belongings taken away? –He asks in a strong voice so that there is evidence in his videotaped report.

We all said no, and they let us go. We’ve only been in the city for five minutes and we know who owns Nuevo Laredo. There is no man’s land.

Later, when Carmen Lilia is asked if she is concerned about insecurity, the mayor answers that the situations in that area are undeniable, but that the incidence of crime has decreased. However, she does not have in mind the figures that support the reality in which she lives.

“We want to highlight the benefits of the city, which is much more than everything that is said badly about Nuevo Laredo. I think you hear about Nuevo Laredo and you get scared too,” she says.

Source: El Financiero