Mexican marines clashed Wednesday morning with a group of gunmen linked to the Beltran Leyva cartel in the outskirts of Colima , the capital of Colima state, leaving eight criminals dead, including two Colombians and five marines wounded, one seriously.
SEMAR did not identify the gunmen who were killed, saying only that the Colombians were a man and a woman.
Other sources reported that 12 suspected criminals were also detained, of which two were wounded.
In a brief statement, the Secretary of the Navy (SEMAR) reported that the events occurred around 5:00 am when a detachment of marines were conducting an overnight operation in the port city of Manzanillo and were attacked by gunmen with high powered weapons.
The final confrontation, witnesses said, came after a lengthy pursuit on the road from Manzanillo to Colima.
Following the confrontation the Colima-Manzanillo highway remained closed for several hours, causing a lengthy traffic jam, which slowly diverted by alternate routes.
Elements of the Mexican army, federal police, state police reinforced the area to protect the site of the confrontation from attacks by other criminal groups and allow federal prosecutors to began investigations.
The port of Manzanillo is located on the pacific coast and is one of the largest in the country. Several multi-ton shipments of psuedoephedrine and other precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of Methamphetamine have recently been seized there in addition to several millions of dollars in currency.
The Beltran Leyva cartel is blamed for a wave of violence affecting the states of Mexico, Morelos, Guerrero, Jalisco and Nayarit since January of this year after the death of its leader Arturo Beltran Leyva “el jefe de jefes”.
Currently the cartel faces an internal struggle for control between another brother, Hector, and the head of the Beltran Leyva assassins known as “los pelones”, Edgar Valdez Villarreal "la barbie", a U.S. citizen born in Texas.
Due to the size of the criminal group captured and killed in the confrontation there is the remote possibility that “la Barbie” may have been apprehended and taken to Mexico City.
Previously, on May 9th, “la Barbie” escaped a force of more than 100 marines that invaded several homes he was using as a hideout in a luxurious country club in Valle Escondido in the state of Mexico. He is also known to have been in Acapulco and Tepic, Nayarit, during the height of the violence in both cities.