VERACRUZ, Mexico – At least four suspected criminals died in separate shootouts with police in the port city of Veracruz, Mexican officials said Tuesday.
State police launched several operations on Monday night to find and arrest members of criminal organizations, setting off the shootouts, Veracruz state officials told Efe.
Public Safety Secretariat and navy police officers engaged gunmen in shootouts in different sections of the city.
One of the shootouts occurred on Camino Real street in Chalchihueca, a neighborhood in the northern part of the Gulf city, where several gunmen were spotted by police.
The gunmen opened fire on the officers, who engaged them in a gunfight.
Police staged other operations in the Los Lagartos, Astilleros and Las Campanas districts.
Four suspected gunmen “were killed by the security forces, with no reports that policemen or civilians were affected,” officials said.
Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the murder rate skyrocketing in the past few years.
The Gulf, Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in the state.
Veracruz, Mexico’s third most populous state, is coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.
Federal and state security forces killed 10 suspected Zetas cartel members in a shootout in the mountainous central region of Veracruz in March.
The port city of Veracruz will be the site of the 24th Ibero-American Summit of heads of state and government and will host the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games later this year.