3 shot dead in Mexican border city

Assailants in Nuevo Laredo shot dead three men in two attacks that took place within hours of each other as U.S. and Mexican authorities announced a new joint plan to combat the relentless violence in this border city.

In the first attack, on Sunday night, an unidentified gunman opened fire on a group of men at a family party, killing Armando Gallardo, 28 and wounding two other men, one seriously.

Police were unsure of the motive in the attack. Relatives said the family deals in used cars.

Hours later, early Monday morning, gunmen in four vehicles pursued two men traveling in a Dodge car for 3 miles (5 kilometers) along a road leading out of the city then riddled them with bullets.

The victims were identified as Andres Cazares and Victor Aranda Jr, both Mexican citizens who had U.S. Green Cards and lived in Texas.

With the three deaths, there have been 80 killings so far this year in Nuevo Laredo, a city of 330,000 across the river from Laredo, Texas.

On Monday, the U.S. consul in Nuevo Laredo Michael Yoder and the Mexican consul in Laredo, Texas, Daniel Hernandez released a joint statement announcing joint measures to improve security in the two Laredos.

The statement said there would be an improved co-operation between the two police forces so that criminals could not flee from one side of the border to the other.

"Our explicit objective is to make sure the criminals understand that there will be no safe hiding place in the two Laredos," it said in the statement, reports the AP.

I.L.