Gunfights, roadblocks of burning vehicles hit Mexican border city of Reynosa; 3 reported dead

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MEXICO CITY — Gunfights and blockades of burning vehicles broke out Friday in the border city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas, leaving at least three dead, Mexican authorities said.

A federal official who was not authorized to be quoted by name said three armed civilians, presumably cartel gunmen, had been killed in a series of confrontations with soldiers, state and federal police throughout the day.

The official said roads had been blocked with vehicles set on fire by gunmen.

The official confirmed reports that a top member of the Gulf cartel's Reynosa faction had been detained. The gang leader has been known by his nickname "El Gafe," but his real name could not immediately be confirmed. The nickname apparently refers to a now-disbanded Mexican special forces military group.

The U.S. consulate in Matamoros issued a message urging U.S. citizens to take precautions because of "several firefights and roadblocks throughout the city of Reynosa." The city government posted a warning on its Twitter site recommending motorists avoid several areas, including the highway leading to the nearby city of Matamoros.

Warring factions of the Gulf cartel in Reynosa and Matamoros have been fighting turf battles around the two cities.

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