MONTERREY, Mexico – Eight men were killed in separate incidents linked to the cartel war in northern Mexico, security officials said.
The first incident occurred in Piedras Negras, a city in Coahuila state, where four criminals died in a shootout with police.
The shootout started around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, when a police special weapons and tactics unit encountered the gunmen, who were riding in a vehicle.
Additional police units were deployed in the area and streets in Piedras Negras were closed to traffic.
Officers seized an automobile, a shotgun, an UZI submachine gun and more than 800 doses of marijuana and crack cocaine.
Four other men, meanwhile, were gunned down in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon, a state security council official told Efe.
The shooting happened around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Juarez, a city east of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon.
The men, who had been at a recreation center since the morning, were shot multiple times by a group of gunmen, the security official said.
The Gulf cartel has been battling Los Zetas for control of Nuevo Leon and smuggling routes into the United States.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
The wave of drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon claimed the lives of 2,003 people in 2011, official figures show. EFE