Army soldiers killed eight gunmen in a shootout that erupted during a raid on a drug cartel’s camp in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The Defense Secretariat said in a statement that the soldiers took the gunmen by surprise Friday at the camp in the town of San Fernando, not far from where 72 mostly Central American migrants were killed last August by members of the Los Zetas cartel, apparently for refusing to work for the drug mob.
Seeing the soldiers approaching the camp, the gunmen began firing, the secretariat said, adding that eight suspected cartel enforcers were killed and another nine people were arrested.
One of the detainees said she had been held captive at the camp.
As a result of the raid, the soldiers seized a four-wheeler, 11 other vehicles, eight rifles, two handguns, 63 ammunition clips, 150 kilos of marijuana, 200 rounds of ammunition, 58 camouflage uniforms and 11 bulletproof vests.
Tamaulipas, which borders the U.S. state of Texas, has been wracked by a brutal turf battle pitting the Gulf cartel and former allies Los Zetas, a conflict that has left hundreds dead.
Founded by deserters from the Mexican army special forces, the Zetas began their criminal career as the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel before going into business for themselves.
The final split between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas took place a year ago, when the enforcers declared war on their former bosses.