14 dead as gangs, police engage in 3 gunbattles
MEXICO CITY (AP) — At least 14 people, including three police officers, died in gunbattles between law enforcement and gang members in three separate clashes in Mexico, authorities said Wednesday.
In the western state of Jalisco, three police officers and four suspected drug gang members died in a shootout in the town of Tepatitlan, state prosecutors said.
The attorney general’s office said the gang involved in Tuesday’s firefight had nine guns, including a .50-caliber rifle. Four officers were recovering from wounds suffered in the shootout in the town near the city of Guadalajara. Two others were released after treatment and two were in stable condition at a hospital.
The suspected gang members holed up in a house and tossed hand grenades at police after the suspects were spotted using drugs on a nearby street. Soldiers arrived to help secure the area, prosecutors said.
The region has been hit by bloody drug cartel turf battles, often involving the Jalisco New Generation gang.
In the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, soldiers fatally shot four gunmen who attacked them, authorities said. Hours later, marines faced off with a group a group of assailants, killing three, the Tamaulipas state government said in a statement.
Matamoros is the long-time headquarters of the Gulf Cartel. Since early 2010, the cartel has been engaged in a bloody struggle with its former security guards, the Zetas, over lucrative drug routes along the eastern end of the Texas-Mexico border.
Also Wednesday, authorities in Michoacan state said the police chief of the town of Puruandiro was found shot to death by unidentified assailants on a roadway.
The chief, Jose Alfredo Magana Herrera, was driving his own sport utility vehicle when the attack occurred. Police did not see the assailants, but found 44 shell casings around the shot-up vehicle, mostly of the caliber used for assault rifles.
The dominant drug cartel in Michoacan, the Knights Templar cartel, has been involved in a running dispute with Jalisco New Generation. But the Knights Templar are also believed to have been involved in the killings of a number of police chiefs and other officials in Michoacan.