The picturesque town of Ciudad Mier used to be a choice day trip destination along the Texas/Mexico border. Today it’s a ghost town. The state governor of Tamaulipas says at least 100 families have fled the town after members of the Zetas cartel warned the population to leave or face death. Ciudad Mier has a population of just over 6,000 residents.
Many from Ciudad Mier have fled to nearby Ciudad Miguel Alemán, where city officials have set up what is apparently Mexico’s first temporary shelter for civilians fleeing Drug War violence. The building, which in the past has acted as a hurricane shelter, is reportedly now housing around 300 people. Authorities on the Texas side of the border have not made public any plans or intentions to provide emergency shelter to the displaced.
The exodus comes on the heels of a major shootout in Matamoros last Friday which killed the acting boss of the Gulf Cartel. The Zetas were formerly the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, but have spent much of this year at war with their former employers. Some security analysts warn the kingpin’s death will spark a harder and stronger push by the Zetas to consolidate control over territory in northeastern Mexico.