Two police and six gunmen were killed in three separate clashes in the southern and western parts of the country, Mexican authorities said Friday.
Both of the police fatalities were in Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of the southern border state of Chiapas, where an operation to rescue a kidnapped woman led to a shootout Thursday night.
Officers were greeted with shots when they entered the home where the captive was being held. The woman was freed safe and sound, but two police and four kidnappers died in the exchange of gunfire, an official in the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office said.
Three other cops and a suspect were wounded, while police seized nine assault rifles, eight handguns, a grenade-launcher with 36 grenades and ammunition cartridges from the residence.
Mexico’s defense department said Friday that one gunmen was killed and two others apprehended after they opened fire on army troops trying to uproot marijuana plants in La Morena, a village in the southern state of Guerrero.
The men protecting the pot plantation were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, the weapon of choice for Mexican drug cartels.
Shortly after dawn Friday, the chief of security at a prison in Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital, was kidnapped while traveling in an SUV with four guards.
Seven armed men in another vehicle intercepted them, beat up the guards and seized the prison official, the state Public Safety Office said.
In the western state of Michoacan, a tip led federal police to a residential development where they encountered three armed men thought to be working for La Familia Michoacana, a criminal organization involved in drugs, kidnapping and extortion.
The men opened fire when they spotted the police. One suspect was killed and the other two were wounded and taken into custody.
Four police officers were also hurt, but all were reported in satisfactory condition at a hospital in Apatzingan, federal authorities said.
Also in Michoacan, three dismembered bodies were dumped in garbage bags in a middle class neighborhood of Morelia, the state capital.
Authorities were alerted to the bodies by an anonymous telephone tip, the state AG office said.
Six decapitated bodies were discovered Thursday in Morelia.
Michoacan and Guerrero have been the scene of a brutal struggle for dominance between La Familia and Gulf and Beltran Leyva drug cartels.
Some 17,000 people – including nearly 1,300 so far this year – have died nationwide in gangland violence since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized Mexico’s struggle with the cartels. EFE