Six gunmen thought to work for the Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel were killed in two separate clashes with troops in the western state of Michoacan, Mexico’s defense department said.
The first incident took place around midnight Wednesday, when an army patrol confronted armed men in the municipality of Buenavista Tomatlan, the stronghold of the Caballeros.
Soldiers killed three gunmen and seized three assault rifles, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and an SUV with California license plates, according to a statement from 21st Military Zone headquarters in Morelia, the state capital.
One soldier was wounded in the battle.
Three other suspected Caballeros enforcers died Thursday morning in a clash with troops in the village of La Yerbabuena. The dead men were part of a larger contingent that fled the village, leaving behind guns and three vehicles, the military said.
Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) is a splinter group of the La Familia Michoacana mob that formerly dominated the illegal drug trade and other rackets in Michoacan.
Troops this year have killed 91 gunmen working for the various cartels battling to control drug trafficking in Michoacan, the 21st Military Zone said.
With more than 230 kilometers (143 miles) of Pacific coastline, Michoacan is a key transshipment point for South American cocaine destined for the United States.