Who won the municipal election in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, stronghold of the Gulf Cartel

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According to the Preliminary Electoral Results Program (PREP) for 2024 by the Tamaulipas Electoral Institute, the Morena candidate, José Alberto Granados Favila, won the municipal election in Matamoros.

He received 115,270 votes, representing 58.11% of the total. Matamoros, a city bordering Brownsville, Texas, is a crucial point for drug trafficking and has been a subject of controversy due to the deaths of two Americans in early 2023, allegedly at the hands of the Gulf Cartel.

The cartel’s influence in Matamoros dates back to the 1930s when Juan Nepomuceno Guerra controlled smuggling. Despite formalizing in the 1980s, the organization has faced fragmentation due to leader captures and conflicts with Los Zetas and the Northeast Cartel.

José Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez, alias “El Contador,” led the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros from 2015 to 2022 until his arrest in Mexico City in February 2022.

Following his arrest, José Alberto García Vilano, known as “Kena” or “Ciclón 19,” filled the leadership void. García Vilano leads the internal factions of the Gulf Cartel, including “Los Escorpiones” and “Los Ciclones.”

These factions were involved in a violent clash with “Los Metros” in Reynosa in June 2021, resulting in 15 civilian deaths and the kidnapping of four Americans, two of whom were found dead in 2023.

“La Kena” was investigated by state and federal authorities, and a substantial reward was offered for her capture. He was apprehended on January 18 in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, and is currently held at the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation (CEFERESO) No. 1, also known as “El Altiplano,” in the State of Mexico, awaiting possible extradition to the United States.

The Gulf Cartel’s dominance in Matamoros relies on extortion, affecting businesses from street vendors to larger properties like hospitals and customs agencies.

Experts note that over six active criminal groups compete for territory in Tamaulipas, covering more than 80,000 square kilometers. Currently, the Gulf Cartel factions include “Los Ciclones,” “Metros,” “Los Rojos,” and “Las Panteras.” They compete for territory against cells from the Old School Zetas and the Northeast Cartel, which has more centralized control in Nuevo Laredo.

This struggle revolves around controlling routes for synthetic drug trafficking, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as migrant trafficking due to the proximity to the U.S. border.

In the recent municipal election, three candidates contested the Matamoros presidency: Roberto Enrique Lee Ponce from the Movimiento Ciudadano party, Norma Leticia Salazar Vázquez from the coalition of the National Action Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and José Alberto Granados Favila representing Morena, the Labor Party (PT), and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM). During his speech, local deputy José Alberto Granados Fávila encountered difficulties reading, leading to laughter among his colleagues.

According to the Preliminary Election Results Program 2024 of the Tamaulipas Electoral Institute, the Morena candidate Granados Favila was the winner of the elections in the municipality by receiving 115,270 votes in favor of his candidacy, a percentage of 58.11%.

In second place was the PAN candidate Salazar Vázquez who received 50,821 votes, a 25.62%. In third place is Lee Ponce, who obtained 26,512 votes: a 13.36%.

Source: Infobae