The bullet-ridden bodies of 18 men were discovered in the state of Zacatecas after an apparent clash between suspected cartels.
The bullet-ridden bodies of 18 men were discovered after an apparent battle between suspected drug cartels in the northern Mexican state of Zacatecas, authorities said Friday.
“There were 18 deaths, and the confrontation took place in the community of San Juan Capistrano, in the municipality of Valparaíso,” said Rocío Aguilar, spokesman for the Zacatecas State Security Department.
There was evidence that the deaths in the remote canton of Valparaiso were the result of a confrontation between armed cartels in Sinaloa and Jalisco, he said.
The battle was between rival gangs fighting for ground, Aguilar told Milenio TV.
Drug-related violence has killed more than 300,000 people in Mexico since 2006, when the government began deploying federal troops to fight cartels as part of its so-called war on drugs.
Valparaíso borders the state of Jalisco, a stronghold of a powerful cartel called Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Authorities say the gang is waging a violent campaign to take control of drug trafficking routes.
‘Make an effort’
Three vehicles, one of them burnt, were found at the scene, as well as “a significant number of casings of various calibers,” according to the government’s Local Coordination Group, in charge of security in Zacatecas.
Local media have reported a series of shootings since Wednesday when the bodies of two police officers were found hanging from a bridge in Zacatecas.
But Aguilar said that, so far, authorities have not found a link between that terrible clash and Friday’s gunfight in Valparaiso.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador acknowledged Friday that there were security problems in the region, but said his administration was making progress in the fight against crime.
“The State has an obligation to guarantee peace and tranquility, the security of all citizens,” Lopez Obrador said in his usual morning conference.
He said the government was “making an effort” in Zacatecas, as well as in other troubled states.
Zacatecas, once dominated by the old Zetas cartel, is hit by a dizzying number of cartels. Those playing for the ground in Zacatecas include the cards of Sinaloa, Jalisco, Gulf and Northeast, as well as remnants of the Zetas.