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Mexico: At Least 43 Dead in Michoacan Cartel Shootout

More than 40 people have been killed in a shootout between Mexican security forces and an armed gang in the western state of Michoacan.

The large scale gunfight took place in Tanhuato near the Jalisco state border on May 22.

According to local reports, almost all the 43 dead were suspected criminals. At least one police officer was killed in the shootout.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

The area between Michoacan and Jalisco states is known as a stronghold of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, which has mounted several large-scale attacks on federal and state forces in recent weeks.

The majority of those killed at a ranch are believed to have been members of the cartel, said National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido.

He told reporters that the gunfight had lasted for about three hours and that a number of weapons had been recovered from the scene, including more than 30 rifles.

The gunbattle began when the police and security forces were checking reports of an “invasion” of the 277 acres ranch by a group of armed men.

The authorities later called in air and ground support.

Two years ago vigilante groups formed in Michoacan to drive out the Knights Templar drugs cartel. However, last week a former vigilante leader running for mayor in next month’s elections was shot dead.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel has increased its presence in the area, with Michoacan and Jalisco becoming among Mexico’s most violent states. Gang members are believed to have killed at least 20 police and soldiers since March.

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