The Army was invloved in a confrontation in at least three occasions with members of organized crime in Zitacuaro, east of the state of Michoacan, leaving a preliminary toll of at least twenty dead. The officers were returning from a patrol when they came under fire from the gang.
The Public Security Ministry said the state's first attack against military forces occurred in Hidalgo Avenue near Conalep at 7:40 Sunday morning.
The second shooting occurred in the vicinity of a military barracks then at around eleven in the morning there was a third clash between criminals and the Federal Police in Conalep.
The city of Zitácuaro City remained closed and the Department of Public Safety moved to secure the area.
Meanwhile, Proceso news quoted the Federal Public Security Secretariat as ten officers killed at the time of reporting.
Sicarios kill 10 federal police in an ambush
El Universal is reporting that Elements of the Federal Police this Sunday morning were ambushed in the town of Zitacuaro, resulting in at least two clashes that left 10 officers dead. In another media source listed at least 13 officers killed and one juvenile girl that was ran over during the confrontation.
An unspecified number of officers were wounded in the attack and were taken to hospitals in Mexico City and the Michoacan state capital, Morelia, for treatment, the statement said. Several assailants were also killed or wounded, but officials did not provide an exact number.
The newspaper La Dependencia reported that in the clashes several suspected sicarios were also killed, but did not specify the number.
According to reports from the Special Operations Group, they received a distress call from federal agents who were reporting that they were under fire in an ambush.
The alleged sicarios used trucks to "seal" the east and west exits that connect Zitácuaro to Toluca and Ciudad Hidalgo. According to preliminary reports the blockade was done to prevent the arrival of reinforcements.
According to the Daily Provincia, elements of the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) cordoned off the scene and are searching the area with the support of ministerial staff, to try to trace the whereabouts of those responsible.
Meanwhile, the injured were taken to hospitals in Toluca and Morelia.
Two more federal police die in Toluca after an ambush in Zitácuaro
Milenio is reporting that two more officers of the Federal Police died after arriving at hospital Adolfo Lopez Mateos in the city of Toluca, after being ambushed in Zitacuaro, Michoacan.
Sources from the State Security Agency confirmed that a convoy of federal police units transported 10 injured officers to the capital of Mexico State that had been injured in the confrontation.
When the federal officers arrived at the State of Mexico via the Toluca-Zitacuaro highway, ASE personnel provided protection on the trip for the federal agents until they reach the hospital, where about 30 officers of the Police Intervention Group (GERI) guarded the hospital.
However, on arrival to the hospital, two federal agents died and eight more remain in critical condition.
The ASE also confirmed that on the state borders of the state of Michoacán, in the same area where the confrontation occurred, an extensive operation was under way where 100 elements of the security unit and the State Attorney's Office were participating.
The participating agencies set up an operation with a huge perimeter in the region seeking to prevent the escape of the alleged offenders who perpetrated the ambush.
Michoacan cartel gunmen have been known for staging violent attacks on law enforcement personnel in the past:
In 2009, the bloodied and tortured bodies of 12 federal agents were found dumped along a highway in Michoacan in one of the worst single attacks against government forces.
This is not the first time federal police are ambushed in Michoacan. Five federal policemen were Ambushed and killed in Maravatio, Michoacan on January 10, 2010. The actual death toll in this incident is five dead and seven others seriously injured.
Brutal drug-gang violence has swept Michoacan, a state known for its picturesque colonial capital, beaches and Monarch butterfly sanctuary. The state is a stronghold of La Familia, a cartel known for beheading its rivals and staging bold attacks on government security forces.
Police did not immediately identify the attackers or indicate whether they are suspected of being gunmen for La Familia cartel. But the Public Safety Department did say the assailants picked up their wounded and dead and fled with them, a tactic often used by Mexico’s drug cartels.
We will cover this story more as we get further information.