Published: Mon, December 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Death toll from weekend of Mexican cartel gun battles rises to 21

Death toll from weekend of Mexican cartel gun battles rises to 21

A shootout in a Mexican town near the United States border between suspected drug traffickers and police left at least 14 dead, including four officers, officials said Saturday.

The new deaths came on the heels of a Saturday cartel attack on the northern Mexican city of Villa Union that left 10 gunmen and four police officers dead - and the local municipal building riddled with bullet holes.

Overnight, law enforcement agents captured several people suspected of involvement in the murder of the three mothers and six children following an earlier arrest last month, the attorney general's office of Sonora said in a statement.

The hour-long firefight erupted when an armed group invaded the town of Villa Union in a convoy of pick-up trucks, storming local government offices.

Most of the downed gunmen, who were suspected members of the Cartel of the Northeast from Tamaulipas state to the east, were killed by state police in pursuit of the raiding party after it fled the town, Coahuila's government said.

Rapid gunfire could be heard on graphic video footage of the clash which was posted on social media.

The outbreak of violence occurred during a testing week for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who on Friday said he would not accept any foreign intervention in Mexico to deal with violent criminal gangs after Trump's comments.

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Riquelme said authorities had identified 14 vehicles involved in the attacks and seized more than a dozen guns. Others showed plumes of smoke rising from the town. Ten alleged members of the Cartel of the Northeast were killed in the response.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador looks on during his daily news conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico on November 6, 2019.

"I don't think that Mexico needs intervention".

Lopez Obrador took office a year ago pledging to pacify the country after more than a decade of gang-fueled violence. "I think Mexico needs collaboration and cooperation", said Riquelme.

But, "we won't allow organized crime to come to the area", he said.

The November slaughter by Mexican drug cartel gunmen of three women who held US citizenship and six of their children focused world attention on the rising violence.

Coahuila has a history of gang violence, though the homicide total in the state is well below where it was seven years ago. National homicide figures are pushing record levels.

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