Updating the story for new facts including the dead count, identity of eight of the dead and arms seized.
By Chris Covert
Eleven unidentified individuals were found dead in the Sierras of western Chihuahua state Monday, the aftermath of a gunfight between rival criminal groups, according to Mexican news accounts.
The gunfight which killed the ten took place between Sunday night and Monday morning.
A group of Chihuahua state police and ministerial agents Monday had been dispatched to an area called La Guitarra in Temosachi municipality, when it came under small arms fire from an armed group of unknown size waiting in the hills.
The group which fired on the police apparently withdrew when the agents returned fire. Neither the police nor their attackers had been wounded by gunfire in the incident. Police agents were unable to initiate pursuit of their attackers.
In the location agents found 11 dead, all apparently members of a criminal group.
The dead were identified as Hermes Yañez Gamezm 39, AKA El Choco, Jose Olivas Gamez, 35, Jose Juan Bojorquez Soto, 22, Ruelas Moncerrat Castle, 29, Arturo Tello Salinas 36 all from Cuauhtemoc municipality.
Also identified were Gil Noe Varela Gonzalez, 39, Efrain Marquez Perez, 53, Jesus Tello Mendoza, 25, all from Temosachi.
Security forces also seized one .22 caliber rifle, one AR-15 rifle, one grenade and nine ballistic vests.
A Mexican Army unit has been subsequently dispatched to the area to provide additional security.
Temosachi municipality is between Madera municipality and Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, and is about 200 kilometers west of Chihuahua city.
Temosachi is also in the area of Mexico known as the Tarahumara Sierras, which is populated by indigenous Indians, some of whom are direct ascendants of the Aztecs. Criminal groups have in the past forced indigenous communities in Chihuahua and Durango state to grow drugs for sale, acting as feudal lords when those communities refused by torching residences.
The area is also undergoing a food crisis termed as a structural famine due to drought and extreme low temperatures, and due to the fact many Indian farmers in the region are subsistence farmers.
Last month Catholic Bishop of the Tarahumara diocese, Rafael Sandoval Sandoval told a religious group in Puebla, that Tarahumara Indians are forced to grow drug to survive because of the drought conditions.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com