Killings up in Mexican drug lord’s state
CULIACAN, Mexico — Mexican authorities said Saturday that at least 19 people died in clashes involving armed men and security forces in the gang-plagued northwestern state of Sinaloa, where homicides have soared dramatically after the capture and extradition of convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The violence began with a shooting Friday that killed two men near a department store in the town of Villa Union, about 15 miles southeast of the beach resort of Mazatlan.
Officials attributed it to warring drug gang members responsible for recent violence in the state, which is home to Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel.
Police were alerted by emergency calls, and municipal officers encountered the suspected attackers as they were riding in several pickups.
A gunbattle broke out in which police killed 17 suspects, officials said. Five municipal police officers were wounded, and were reported in stable condition.
During the first five months of the year, homicides jumped by 76 percent in Sinaloa state compared with the same period in 2016, according to government crime statistics.
An investigator works at a crime scene Saturday where three people were shot in a car in Culiacan in northwestern Mexico.