A rural police officer was killed and three others were wounded in a shootout with marines in northeastern Mexico, while three Federal Police officers and a gunman were wounded in a gunfight in the border city of Juarez, officials said.
Officer Juan Carlos Ponce Garcia was shot several times and died Tuesday in a community in Hidalgo, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
The incident occurred on the highway that leads from Hidalgo to the community of Peñuelas while the four officers were traveling in a patrol car, the Tamaulipas state police said.
The officers who survived the shootout said they came upon several SUVs carrying the marines, who opened fire on the patrol car.
Officers Pedro Ruiz de Leon, Ignacio Quintano and Jacinto Izaguirre were wounded in the shootout.
Izaguirre is listed in critical condition at a hospital in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, where all the officers were treated for gunshot wounds.
The rear end of the patrol car was hit by at least four rounds fired by the marines.
A state prosecutor has been assigned to investigate the incident, officials said.
Three Federal Police officers, meanwhile, were wounded when gunmen attacked them on Tuesday as they were driving near the hotel being used as housing for officers deployed to fight crime in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.
One of the suspected gunmen was wounded in the gunfight.
The Federal Police Intelligence Department officers were chased by the gunmen, who opened fire when the officers tried to take shelter in the hotel, one of the officers said.
Investigators found several bullet casings near the hotel, where the vehicles used by the officers and the gunmen were abandoned on one of the most heavily traveled streets in the border city, Efe confirmed at the crime scene.
Ciudad Juarez is the Mexican city where the most attacks against Federal Police officers have been registered this year.
The eight attacks staged against federal officers in the border city have left 11 officers dead and more than a dozen others wounded.
A car bombing in Ciudad Juarez targeting Federal Police officers killed four people – a physician, two officers and a firefighter – on July 15.
A car packed with 10 kilos (22 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosives was apparently detonated with a cell phone on a busy street in the border city.
The attack was in retaliation for the arrest of Jesus Armando Acosta Guerrero, 35, reputed leader of the armed wing of the Juarez drug cartel, the Federal Police said.
Acosta was behind at least 25 murders, including the June 25 slayings of two federal officers in Juarez, officials said.
The Federal Police has had 5,000 officers, of whom 4,500 are on street patrols and 500 are assigned to intelligence work, deployed in the border city since April.
The federal forces in Juarez have four aircraft, 510 patrol cars, eight armored vehicles and 90 motorcycles at their disposal.
More than 1,750 gangland killings, according to press tallies, have occurred in Juarez this year.
Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, is the scene of a war for control of smuggling routes between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.
The border city, where nearly 6,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,635 last year.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released earlier this year.
About 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s 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.