In light of the consistently failing attempts by municipal police to rein in the drug cartels in Mexico, citizens have taken up arms to push the cartels out of their areas. The fight occurred mostly in southern and central Mexico, but now the fight appears to be moving closer to the US-Mexico border and could disrupt a portion of cartel drug traffic into America.

When former Mexican president Felipe Calderon launched the government offensive against the country’s drug cartels in 2006, violence, murders, and kidnappings in Mexico skyrocketed. Mexican police were having trouble with the cartels because they were either outgunned or on the cartels’ payroll. Calderon then called upon the nation’s military forces to fight the cartels, but brutal violence continued.

Fed up with the cartels kidnapping and murdering their neighbors, vigilante groups, made up primarily of farmers and ranch hands, decided to fight back. In many instances, they have been successful, pushing out cartel presence in several rural areas in southern Mexico. Now, a vigilante group called the Alberto Carrera Brigade is emerging close to the US-Mexico border in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, the border of which extends from around Laredo to the southernmost tip.

That area of the border is a major US-Mexico trade route where thousands of shipping trucks cross daily. The area, like Ciudad Juarez, which has been the hotbed of violence in the drug war, is an active route for drug smugglers mainly going through from Nuevo Laredo to Laredo, TX and from Reynosa to McAllen, TX.

Tamaulipas is controlled by the Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel, who have a bitter and ultraviolent rivalry, as the Zetas were founded by a group of Gulf Cartel defectors in 2010. Los Zetas have developed a reputation of being one of the most ruthless of the Mexican cartels.

Some are saying that the Tamaulipas vigilante groups are being armed by the Zetas rival, the Gulf Cartel, and are merely clearing out any resistance for the Gulf Cartel. However, the mayor of Ciudad Victoria, the Tamaulipas state capitol, believes the Brigade is genuine in its attempt to fight the cartels.

If the Alberto Carrera Brigade are genuine, and with as successful as the vigilante groups have been in fighting the cartels in southern Mexico, the movement could possibly disrupt the flow of drugs into America.