Three police, four suspected cartel members killed in Mexico shootout

MEXICO CITY — Seven people were killed in a shootout between police and suspected members of “an organized criminal group” in Tepatitlan, a city of 136,000 residents northeast of Guadalajara, Mexico, officials in the state of Jalisco said Wednesday.

Three police officers were killed and four were injured in the shootout Tuesday night, according to a statement released the next day. Four of the suspects also died, and a fifth was reportedly arrested.

State investigators told the Guadalajara newspaper El Informador that the civilians involved in the shootout were members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or CJNG.

State officials said that a group of local police surprised the men, who were “consuming drugs in a public street.” Mayor Jorge Eduardo Gonzalez Arana told local media that the confrontation began after a neighbor called and complained about four people shooting their weapons in the air. [Link in Spanish]

The city of Tepatitlan anchors a fertile agricultural region in Jalisco, a state in west-central Mexico long plagued by the presence of violent drug groups.


According to the government account, the local police, while under attack, called state police for backup just before 7 p.m. The state police arrived to find the suspects holed up in a house, where, according to news reports and witnesses on Twitter, they kept up a gun battle with the police for three or four hours. Officials said the men threw a number of grenades at the officers.

According to the Stratfor intelligence service, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel was founded by former followers of Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, a powerful leader of the Sinaloa cartel who was killed by the Mexican army in July 2010. The original CJNG members broke away from the Sinaloa cartel and are now, according to Stratfor, waging war against the Sinaloa and the Zetas cartels, and their various allies.

State officials said that at least nine rifles were confiscated after the shootout, including a .50 caliber weapon.


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Cecilia Sanchez of The Times’ Mexico City bureau contributed to this report.