By Chris Covert
A total of five unidentified individuals were shot to death in a firefight with Mexican security forces in Zacatecas state Monday evening, according to Mexican news accounts.
The engagement took place in Jimenez del Teul municipality as a joint patrol of Mexican 53rd Infantry Battalion and Zacatecas state Policia Estatal Preventiva (PEP) agents were conducting search and patrol operations for five individuals kidnapped ten days before in the same municipality.
Armed suspects travelling board a Lincoln Navigator SUV fired on the patrol, and elements of the patrol returned fire, killing all on board.
Three men and two women who died were in their 20s. Security forces also seized two AK-47 rifles, a handgun and a quantity of powder cocaine.
The April 4th kidnapping took place when an armed group entered two homes in Jimenez del Teul municipality taking a total of four unidentified individuals. An attempt to thwart the kidnapping ended when the armed group kidnapped an unidentified Policia Preventiva agent. At the time of the abduction it was reported a total of ten individuals had been taken. It has also been reported the kidnapping victims may have been taken to Durango state, however, none of the victims have been found so far.
Four police officers with the municipality failed to appear for work citing threats from armed groups in the area. Shortly afterwards federal security forces intensified their presence in the area. Jimenez del Teul municipality has a total of seven police officers.
Jimenez del Teul is a remote mountain community in far western Zacatacas bordering with Durango state about 20 kilometers to the west and Fresnillo city, about 40 kilometers to the west.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com