Six men were killed in two separate attacks in Guadalupe, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, a state Security Council official said.
Gunmen riding in two SUVs opened fire with large-caliber weapons on four men – three members of a family and a neighbor – who were at a house in Guadalupe, which is in the Monterrey metropolitan area.
The gunfire killed Moises Chavez, 56, his two sons and an unidentified neighbor.
Two men were shot dead a few minutes later by gunmen wielding AR-15 assault rifles in Guadalupe’s Lomas de San Miguel neighborhood.
Gunmen have staged a number of attacks in the past 10 days in Guadalupe, targeting both civilians and police.
A transit police officer was shot dead on April 25 by gunmen armed with AR-15 assault rifles.
The same gunmen killed two other officers a few minutes later while they were riding in their patrol car in Guadalupe.
A transit police officer was killed on April 24 in Valle Verde, a neighborhood in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon.
More than a dozen transit police officers have been killed this year by gunmen working for drug cartels and other organized crime groups.
The Monterrey city government has provided officers with bullet-proof vests in an effort to protect them.
Nuevo Leon and neighboring Tamaulipas state have been rocked by a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnappings, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans willing to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 36,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.