Drug cartel and police shootouts erupt in Mexico

Saturday, August 8, 2009

R-15 semi-automatic rifles similar to the ones used in the shootouts

On Thursday, several shootouts occurred in Mexico leaving nine cartel suspects dead, killing seven police officers, and injuring close to 30 others.

Following the several gun battles, police seized 1.2 million pesos (more than US$92,000), cocaine, assault rifles, police uniforms, bullet proof vests, handcuffs, hand grenades, and a variety of other military weapons.

Federal agents went missing and a search initiated by the Hidalgo state police found them alive near an auto racetrack in the Mineral de la Reforma municipality. Shortly after their discovery a shootout took place. Acting on a tip, police pulled over four trucks near Pachuca which resulted in a firefight, lasting 20 minutes, after which cartel suspects fled the scene. Over a dozen were left dead and 22 injured including several police agents in Pachuca.

The cities of Silao, La Calera and Irapuato in the state of Guanajuato suffered both grenade and artillery shootouts which took the life of one police officer, killed an innocent bystander, and critically injured another 18. The police station in Silao was attacked by hand grenades, AK-47 assault rifles and R-15 semi-automatic rifles; the attacks killed two people and placed ten in the hospital. Nine cartel suspects were killed in the city of La Calera. Another attack Thursday night killed a police investigator in the city of Ciudad Juárez in the state of Chihuahua.

Mexican federal police recently arrested top leaders of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, making these attacks likely retaliation. A similar modus operandi was seen where simultaneous shootouts across Mexico occurred targeting police stations in July.

The President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, along with US President, Barack Obama, have initiated a crack down on drug gangs. The Mexican Drug War which began in December 2006 has resulted in an estimated 10,000 fatalities, of which about 10% have been police officials.