By Chris Covert
Mexican Policia Federal (PF) troops killed 11 armed suspects and seized a number of contraband including weapons and vehicles in a Monday afternoon operation, according to Mexican news accounts.
The confrontation took place in Fresnillo municipality in a southwestern area near the border with Valparaiso municipality in the village of El Salto at around 1330 hrs.
PF agents had conducted a rescue operation of an unidentified individual at a safe house against a band a kidnappers by blocking roads. Armed suspects reacted by themselves blocking roads at seven locations including roads leading to Jerez municipality to the southwest and Valparaiso, also to the southwest. Roads with blocks includes Bulevar Varela Rico.
Seven narcobloqueos were removed with the assistance of Zacatecas state and local municipal police agents, but seven armed suspects still managed to escape the PF cordon. One unidentified armed suspect was detained.
In the aftermath, 12 abandoned vehicles were found as well as 12 rifles.
Reports have surfaced that some of the dead were prison escapees from the Apodaca CERESO prison massacre that took place over the weekend in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon ten days ago. None of the dead criminal suspects have yet been identified.
Five PF agents were wounded in the encounters, two requiring hospitalization. The death toll for the armed suspects could rise by four, though Zacatecas Procurador General del Estado Arturo Nahle Garcia denied more had died in the encounters.
Policia Federal units have been operating in increasing concentrations in Zacatecas state, either by augmenting army patrols or by providing a placeholder as army units have been dispatched to other locations in Mexico. Three Mexican Army battalions are known to have bases in the state.
PF units were involved in a shootout in Fresnillo ten days when agents intercepted a two-vehicle convoy of armed suspects killing six and seizing 37 weapons, tactical gear and military C4 detonation charges. Another eight unidentified suspects were detained, all Guatemalan nationals.