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Gun Battle in Mexico: More Than 40 Dead

Mexico-40

The violence unfolded in the morning near the town of Tanhuato, along Michoacan’s border with the state of Jalisco

Joshua Partlow reports: A shootout between members of a powerful drug cartel and Mexican security forces in the western state of Michoacan left at least 40 people dead Friday, according to Mexican officials.

“The people must be scared. But what are we going to do? Everybody knows there were killings, but the people just say, ‘God help us,’ ”

The violence unfolded in the morning near the town of Tanhuato, along Michoacan’s border with the state of Jalisco, a troubled region where two drug cartels have waged a long-running battle and where attacks against Mexican authorities have recently spiked.

 A federal police officer stands guard outside the ranch in Michoacan state where more than 40 people were killed in Friday’s shootout. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal police officer stands guard outside the ranch in Michoacan state where more than 40 people were killed in Friday’s shootout. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexican authorities offered few details Friday afternoon about the killings, which involved the New Generation cartel of Jalisco and a convoy of federal police and soldiers. The governor of Michoacan, Salvador Jara, said on the radio that at least one policeman died, as well as 42 gunmen, although those numbers were not confirmed. Photographs from the scene showed authorities had recovered dozens of high-powered rifles.

Federal police officers leave the ranch where gunmen took cover during an intense gun battle with the police, along the Jalisco-Michoacan highway in Vista Hermosa, Michoacan State, on May 22, 2015. At least 37 people were killed in the gunfight in Mexico's troubled western state of Michoacan, in one of the bloodiest clashes in the country's drug war. Two police officers also died in the shootout in the municipality of Tanhuato, near the border with Jalisco state, a federal government official told AFP. Michoacan and Jalisco have endured some of the worst violence in a drug war that began to escalate in 2006, when the government deployed troops to combat cartels. More than 80,000 have been killed and another 22,000 gone missing nationwide in the past nine years.  AFP PHOTO / HECTOR GUERRERO        (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

 AFP PHOTO / HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal police official confirmed that at least 40 people had died.

A priest at a nearby church, Manuel Navarro, said that he and his parishioners could see black smoke rising at the scene of the violence but that the townspeople continued to work and go out in the streets…(read more)

The Washington Post

Gabriela Martinez contributed to this report.

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