At least 12 suspected cartel enforcers were killed in a gun battle with army soldiers in the northwestern state of Durango.
Three troops were wounded in the clash in the town of Santiago Papasquiaro, the source said without providing further details.
According to El Universal daily’s online edition, Thursday’s shootout lasted two hours.
A bishop said last year that Mexico’s most wanted fugitive, Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, was living in Durango, one of the states hardest hit by a wave of drug-related violence.
Four journalists were kidnapped in that state in July, although two were later released and the other two were rescued in a police operation.
Elsewhere in northern Mexico, a plastic surgeon was kidnapped by an armed group while operating at his clinic in the industrial hub of Monterrey.
The Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency said Thursday that at least eight armed men arrived at the clinic, four of whom went upstairs and took Dr. Felix Perez Rocha by force while he was performing surgery.
Army soldiers and federal and state police officers later arrived at the medical center, where the patients were greatly distressed over the incident.
The security forces have launched an operation to capture the kidnappers and rescue the surgeon, but thus far without success.
Thursday’s abduction marked the first time that a plastic surgeon – highly sought after by drug kingpins wanting to change their appearance – had been kidnapped in Nuevo Leon, a northeastern state whose capital is Monterrey.
Monterrey has seen a surge in violence in recent years as drug cartels battle for territory near the border with the United States, the world’s biggest market for illicit narcotics.
About 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon militarized the war on the cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
More than 7,000 gangland killings have occurred so far this year in Mexico, Attorney General Arturo Chavez Chavez said last month.
The death toll for all of 2009 was 7,724.