MEXICO CITY (AP) — Soldiers patrolling a rural area on the border with Texas killed 10 suspected drug gang gunmen at a training camp, Mexico's Defense Department said Saturday.
The military patrol came under attack after finding the camp of armed men in the town of Valle Hermoso, in the border state of Tamaulipas, on Friday, the department said in a statement.
The soldiers returned fire and killed 10 suspects. Soldiers also seized weaponry including 24 rifles, two grenade launchers and 18 grenades, as well as an armored vehicle, it said.
The Gulf coast state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, has seen a spike in violence since last year's split between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas, formerly a gang of enforcers and now a cartel in its own right.
In November, the federal government launched a major military offensive sending more soldiers to Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state after the area was overwhelmed by violence linked to the two gangs' turf dispute.
More than 34,600 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico in the four years since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels.
In another attack Saturday, a police commander died and three officers were wounded when a car bomb exploded in the central state of Hidalgo.
State Public Safety Secretary Damian Canales Mena said the officers were checking out a tip that a body was in the trunk of the vehicle when it exploded.
Investigators suspect the Zetas cartel was behind the attack in the town of Tula. It could be revenge for the recent killings of two cartel members by police, Canales Mena said.
Hidalgo is the home state of alleged Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and a central transit point for drugs.
In Chihuahua state, meanwhile, authorities said a commander who worked in internal affairs for the local Attorney General's Office was killed along with another agent.
State Attorney General's Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said the two were gunned down Friday afternoon in the capital, also called Chihuahua. A third agent was gravely wounded. A motive was not immediately known.
And in nearby Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, three men died when a gasoline bomb was thrown into their store.
State prosecutors also said that elsewhere in Ciudad Juarez, authorities found the dead bodies of three other victims of apparent gangland murders.
The Sinaloa and Juarez cartels have been fighting for control of the lucrative trafficking routes in Chihuahua.