State government spokesman Arturo Martínez Núñez confirmed that a total of 12 police officers where killed, six state and six Teloloapan Preventive Police, in an ambush on the outskirts of the town of Canute A. Neri while they had been looking for the suspects responsible for the 10 human heads left in town.
At a press conference to provide information on the progress of operation "Operativo Guerrero Seguro" state officials reported that the incident occurred shortly before 1800 hours on Sunday on state road Villa de Ayala that joins the townships of Ixcatepec and Teloloapan.
The road Villa de Ayala-Ixcatepec leads to villages that are difficult to access along the borders of the northern municipality of Arcelia as well as Teloloapan and just like Totoltepec, the region is known to have a large presence of criminal activity from organized crime.
According to official reports when officers reached the junction of Ixcatepec, they were ambushed in an attacked with heavy gunfire but the officers managed to fire back but the toll left 12 officers killed and around 14 officers wounded from gunfire.
The officers were traveling in 6 trucks, 5 of the State Police and one of the City, and according to police reports all rolled over.
Unofficial report indicate that the officers were ambushed after an emergency call to report of a car accident and also that of an operator of a crane that had been working on the road had been injured.
"We received a report at 1755 hours where we learned that on the state highway that runs from Ayala to Ixcatepec, in the municipality of Teloloapan, a confrontation arose between unknown sicarios and elements of state and municipal police, and culminated in the junction of Ixcatepecty where the police officers were killed," said the official.
After the gun battle, the wounded police officers were transported to different hospitals and clinics in Iguala and Teloloapan for medical care.
The six members of the State Preventive Police (PEP) who were killed were identified as Evaristo Moso Barragán or Evaristo Mosso Policarpo, Raúl García Lorenzo, Gerardo Policarpo Estrada, Óscar Méndez Rojas, Artemio Muñiz Ramírez or Antonio Munives and Andrés Ramírez García.
Of the officers of the Municipal Police of Teloloapan only 4 were identified: Eduardo Razo Bueno, Fernando Diego Vargas, Marcelo Patrón Jiménez and Salustio Nava.
Meanwhile, the military and various police agencies from all three levels of government were conducting operations in the area.
At the scene police managed to secure a Chevrolet pickup truck, a Chevrolet Captiva and a Ford, along with two fragmentation grenades.
As for the human heads found on Sunday, the state government spokesman said that they have not been able tot located the rest of the bodies and that there is an intensive operation in the area following violent incidents in the last 24 hours that has left a toll of 22 killed just in Teloloapan. It has also been reported that at least two of the heads might be police officers.
Authorities have not been able to determine if the recent incidents are related but it is known that at least two groups "Gerrero Unido" and "La Familia Michoacana" have been implicated in one form or another through narco messages.
Martinez Nunez admitted that there has been a "significant increase" in violence in the North region as well as Tierra Caliente, "throughout the Tierra Caliente corridor, from Iguala to Ciudad Altamirano", which is the main reason the region was turned over to operation "Operación Guerrero Seguro."
Sources: Milenio, Debate and Universal