Federal police and soldiers ambushed near border of Michoacán and Jalisco states as source says dozens of presumed cartel gunman have been killed
At least 44 people were killed on Friday in a gunfight in western Mexico between law enforcement and criminal suspects, officials said, one of the bloodiest days of violence to shake the country under President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the government officials said two federal police died and one was badly injured in the shootout near the Michoacan state border with Jalisco, a state home to Mexico's second-biggest city, Guadalajara.
The rest killed at a ranch near the town of Tanhuato were suspected members of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which is based in the neighbouring state, the officials said.
One of the officials said federal police received an anonymous tip that armed men had gathered at the ranch and that shooting began after they arrived. Security forces attacked the suspected gang members by air and by land, he added.
Among the weapons recovered from the scene by police were rocket launchers and powerful guns, the official said.
While there was no immediate confirmation on the identity of the suspects, Michoacán governor Salvador Jara told local media "the likeliest thing is" the Jalisco cartel was involved in the shootout.
The area on the Michoacán-Jalisco border has been the scene of bloody shooting and grisly discoveries for several years.
The scene of the shootout is close to the community of La Barca, Jalisco, where authorities in 2013 found more than five dozen bodies in mass graves linked to the Jalisco cartel.
The Jalisco gang has been involved in the deadliest attacks against law enforcement in recent memory in the last few months.
Earlier this month six soldiers were killed when New Generation gunmen used a rocket-propelled grenade to bring down an army helicopter in the state. That came weeks after 15 police officers were killed in an ambush, the deadliest single attack on Mexico's security forces in recent memory.
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