A vehicle burns after a clash between armed gangs in Sonora. A vehicle burns after a clash between armed gangs in Sonora.

12 dead after gangs clash, create ‘war zone’ in Caborca, Sonora

Houses, cars and a gas station were set on fire

Municipal, state and federal forces continue to patrol the municipality of Carborca, Sonora, as authorities investigate a large firefight between two rival groups that began on the city outskirts around midnight on Friday and left 12 dead and several houses, cars, and a gas station on fire.

Authorities believe the 12 bodies recovered Saturday on the Caborca–Sonoyta interstate highway, all bearing gunshot wounds, are those of men who either confronted or were targeted by armed civilians.

They had arrived in the area around midnight Friday in 50 vehicles and drove around the city taking people from homes by force and setting fires. Authorities did not name the criminal groups involved.

Witnesses to the convoy’s arrival called 911 on Friday night to alert local authorities and also began warning residents on social media to stay indoors, claiming that they would find themselves in a “war zone.” Videos of hooded, well armed individuals firing weapons and setting fires in various locations were posted on line.

Sonora officials confirmed Saturday that they had moved various police units into the area to investigate the incident and protect residents. Police helicopters could be seen patrolling the area.

Officials also said that journalist Raymundo Quiroz Salas, owner of El Aduanal, a digital news site, had been briefly kidnapped while covering the conflict but returned 40 minutes later unharmed, with only his cell phone taken. They also called upon anyone who could provide information relevant to the investigation to call the emergency services number 089, where they could report anonymously.

According to the National Public Security System (SESNSP), the battle for dominance among rival organized crime groups that began in March and April has heightened not only in Sonora but in nine other states: Guanajuato, Michoacán, state of México, Chihuahua, Baja California, Jalisco, Mexico City, Guerrero, and Veracruz.

Sonora was also the site of one of Mexico’s most high-profile organized crime attacks in recent years, when three adults and six children belonging to the LeBaron clan, a large intergenerational family of expats with ties to the U.S., were shot dead in an attack attributed to drug cartels last November. Armed civilians opened fire on family members traveling in three vehicles near the town of La Mora.

Source: Infobae (sp)

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