Bomb Explodes in Front of U.S. Consulate in Mexican Border City

MEXICO CITY – A homemade bomb exploded in front of the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo, a border city in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state, but no injuries or damage were reported, officials said.

The bomb went off just before midnight on Friday and investigators have not determined who planted it.

Mexican Attorney General’s Office investigators are working on the case, a spokesman for the consulate said.

The bomb exploded near the guardhouse on Allende Street and did not cause any damage to the building, the consular spokesman said.

AG’s office investigators are trying to determine what kind of explosive was used in the attack and are reviewing video from security cameras for clues as to the identity of the bomber or bombers, Mexican media reported.

Visa issuance was suspended until Monday at the consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Piedras Negras, a city in neighboring Coahuila state, the consular spokesman said.

Last month, an American couple linked to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, and a Mexican married to a consular employee were killed.

U.S. consular official Lesley Ann Enriquez and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, a detention officer at the El Paso County Jail, were killed on March 13 by gunmen who fired on their vehicle on a busy street in Juarez, considered the murder capital of Mexico.

The couple’s baby, riding in the back seat, was not harmed.

Mexican citizen Jorge Alberto Salcido, the husband of another consular employee, died in a similar attack minutes later.

Enriquez and Redelfs were U.S. citizens who lived in El Paso. They drove to Juarez for the birthday party of another consulate employee, an event also attended by Salcido and his wife.

Tamaulipas has been rocked by a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.

The violence has intensified in Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state since the appearance in the northern city of Monterrey in February of giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.

After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnapping, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans inclined to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.

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