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Federal agent killed in gun battle near Veterans Bridge

Brownsville Herald | May 27, 2005

A Mexican federal agent was killed in a Wednesday night shootout with alleged drug dealers blocks away from the Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates.

According to a Tamaulipas state news agency, two suspects were arrested at the scene while two more remained unidentified and at large Thursday.

Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) officials told Tamaulipas En Linea that agents tried to stop a suspicious Ford Expedition shortly before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Los Pinos neighborhood east of the bridge.

The Expedition fled from the AFI agents and led them on a half-mile chase that ended on Calle Sandalo between Avenidas Las Plazas and Santos Degolados in Matamoros’ Arboledas subdivision.

Once cornered, the four suspects reportedly opened fire in a short-lived gun battle where they shot AFI agent Martin Gustavo Hernandez. Hernandez suffered three wounds to his arms, legs and chest and died at the Pumarejo General Hospital at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Agents arrested two men at the scene, but two others escaped.

Early reports said the men had ties to organized crime and drug-trafficking organizations, but federal officials would not release their identities Thursday.

According to reports, investigators removed six grenades, several handguns and assault rifles with their ammunition as well as 11 cell phones, police radios and bulletproof vests inside the Ford Expedition.

Chalk circles marking more than 30 bullet casings at the scene could be seen late Thursday morning.

Neighbors declined an interview, but said they heard the shootout and did not leave their homes.

According to Brownsville Herald archives, an AFI agent was wounded in a Feb. 9 shootout in downtown Matamoros, also a suspected run-in with drug dealers.

Mexican authorities had also recently moved several high-profile drug cartel leaders to a federal prison west of Matamoros. Federal officials would not comment on Thursday if the incidents had any connection with the May 25 shootout.


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