SALTILLO, Mexico – One policeman and eight suspects were killed in a shootout over the weekend between officers and gunmen in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, state prosecutors said on Monday.
“On the night of this Sunday, May 19, in a security operation, members of the Coahuila Force clashed with a group of armed civilians on a local road near the community of Mineral La Florida, in the municipality of Muzquiz, leaving six suspected criminals dead as of now,” Coahuila Attorney General’s Office spokesman Jesus Carranza said.
The AG Office subsequently updated the report to indicate that a total of nine people were killed, including investigative police commander Yunior Marcelino, who survived the battle but died of his wounds at a hospital in Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila.
Authorities were notified of the shootout around 7:00 pm on Sunday, Carranza said.
A search was ordered and authorities deployed a navy helicopter, Federal Police officers and army troops in the area.
Investigators are still gathering evidence at the scene of the shootout, which is located in rough terrain, and officials have still not determined the final death toll, Carranza said.
The police department in Muzquiz, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border with the United States, said a convoy of gunmen ambushed several Coahuila Force and AG’s office investigative police units.
A police spokesman in Muzquiz said as many as 20 people may have died in the shootout, while media reports put the death toll at 18.
Authorities in northern Coahuila have been dealing with a string of killings and other crimes in the past week.
On Saturday, five bodies were found inside a vehicle parked at the investigative police office in Sabinas, a city next to Muzquiz.
Three state police officers were attacked in Nava and another attack targeted Coahuila Force members in the border city of Piedras Negras.
Authorities in these cities blamed the attacks on members of the Cartel del Noreste (CDN), the new name of the Zetas cartel, who control the mining and distribution of coal in the cities in northern Coahuila’s coal mining region.