Updated with new information; Update II: again with new information
By Chris Covert
Two armed suspects were killed by Mexican security forces as criminal groups said to be elements of a local drug gang blocked several access roads to a major Mexican federal highway in Guadalupe municipality and in Zacatecas, the capital of Zacatecas state, according to Mexican news reports and Twitter posts.
According to a news report released by Notimex, the Mexican national wire news service, roadblocks began at about 0800 hrs with armed suspects carjacking trucks and other vehicles, disabling them to make roadblocks.
La Silla Roja reported Saturday afternoon that a Policia Federal (PF) patrol unit had confronted a convoy of armed suspects beginning in the village of San Nicolas in Villa Gonzalez Ortega municipality at around 0600 hrs. Villa Gonzalez Ortega is about 30 kilometers due east of Zacatecas municipality on Zacatecas State Highway 144.
In a Sunday morning post on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily, three rifles, two handguns and communications gear were seized following the end of the pursuit. Three vehicles were also damaged in the pursuit, including a vehicle belonging to the Zacatecas ministerial police.
The blocked access roads in Zacatecas municipality included avenidas Sauceda de la Borda, Bulevar Bicentenario and the highway to San Ramon. The report says those roads block access to Mexico Federal Highway 45 which links the state of Aguascalientes to the south with Fresnillo municipality and Durango state to the northwest.
Further east of Zacatecas, in Guadalupe municipality, roadblocks were reported in the village of Santa Monica, while to the north of Zacatecas roadblocks were reported in the village of La Pimentas.
Wire reports say the roadblocks were removed within a half an hour.
An earlier Notimex report also presented a redacted compiled statement by Mexican security forces in the area that they did not know why roadblocks were taking place. However, Notimex later said the roadblocks were local criminal groups' reaction to a pursuit and gunfight between federal security forces and armed suspects
Three days ago, news news reports were that rival armed criminal groups were engaged in firefights in the hills between Villanueva and Sombrerete municipalities, as well as in Fresnillo. Even so, no reports have been published as to casualties in those firefights. Mexico Federal Highway 45 runs to the north of that area.
Mexico Federal Highway 45 between Sombrerete and Durango city is one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Mexico. It is also used by Los Zetas to move shooters and munitions north to Coahuila and Tamaulipas states.
Roadblocks are a tactic used by criminal groups to block security forces from intervening in fights with rival groups, whenever criminal groups suffer a sharp reverse and to cover criminal groups' movement in an area. The tactic is in routine use in Nuevo Lardeo as well as other border cities in Tamaulipas.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
© Copyright 2012 by Chris Covert
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