Photo: Violence in Mexico
Gunmen murdered three men in a cantina, while Federal Police officers killed two suspected drug traffickers in separate incidents in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, state prosecutors said.
The gunmen attacked the El Loco cantina in a town located about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of Morelia, the state capital, the Michoacan Attorney General’s Office said.
Gunmen opened fire with assault rifles on the bar in Tiripetio on Monday afternoon, the AG’s office said.
Three men were killed instantly and a fourth was seriously wounded, prosecutors said.
The gunmen drove away from the town and into a wooded area, where federal and state law enforcement officers searched for them.
Federal Police officers, meanwhile, engaged gunmen in a shootout in Cuitzio, a town outside the city of Turicato, the AG’s office said.
Turicato is in the crime-ridden Tierra Caliente region, which gets its name from the high temperatures in the area and straddles Michoacan, Guerrero and Mexico states.
The federal law enforcement agents killed two suspected criminals, whose bodies were taken to the coroner’s office for identification.
The federal government deployed soldiers and police in Michoacan on Jan. 13 in an effort to end the wave of drug-related violence in the state.
Federal security forces killed the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel’s two top leaders, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez and Enrique Plancarte Solis, in February and March, respectively.
Moreno and other members of the Familia Michoacana gang formed the Caballeros Templarios organization after he was reported killed by the government in 2010.
The Caballeros Templarios cartel, which deals in both synthetic and natural drugs, commits murders, stages kidnappings and runs extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies in Michoacan.
The cartel uses Michoacan’s 270 kilometers (168 miles) of coastline to smuggle chemical drug precursors for the production of synthetic drugs into Mexico.