Six gunmen were killed Friday in a confrontation with army troops in the central state of Zacatecas, Mexico’s National Defense Secretariat said.
The confrontation took place in the wee hours after soldiers assigned to the 11th Military Zone went to the town of Teul de Gonzalez Ortega in response to a tip about the presence of armed men, the secretariat, known by the acronym Sedena, said in a statement.
The gunmen, who were setting up a roadblock, opened fired when they saw the troops approaching.
Six of the gunmen died in the ensuing battle and soldiers subsequently seized seven rifles and ammunition as well as four vehicles, Sedena said.
Mexico’s powerful, well-armed drug cartels sometimes establish highway checkpoints in territories they dominate, seeking captives for their lucrative sideline in kidnapping.
In August 2010, members of the brutal Los Zetas cartel waylaid two cargo trucks carrying more than 70 undocumented Central and South American migrants, almost all of whom were later killed.
The victims, who were found on a remote ranch not far from the U.S. border, were slain by Zetas after refusing to work for the gang as couriers or enforcers.