Evidence of last night's gunfire. Evidence of last night's gunfire.

Faceoff in Mazatlán: 19 dead, 5 wounded

All the dead are presumed criminals, believed fighting for control of the plaza

Nineteen presumed criminal gang members are dead and five police officers wounded after a violent confrontation last night in Mazatlán.

It began shortly after 8:00pm when a routine municipal police patrol encountered four trucks carrying armed men in Villa Unión, state security officials said.

Police said the gunmen opened fire then fled. Police, joined by armed forces personnel, gave chase and a gun battle ensued eight kilometers later in the community of Aguaje de Costilla where the 17 armed civilians were killed.

None of the police officers was seriously hurt.

Four vehicles, 12 AK-47s, two AR-15s and other weapons were seized.

Two other presumed gangsters were killed earlier outside the Coppel department store in José López Portillo, said Mazatlán police chief Joel Ernesto Soto, who believes their killing triggered the night’s events.

He did not discount the possibility that three narco-banners erected Wednesday were related. “They could be related, but we don’t know. The incident began when they assassinated two people outside Coppel.”

The banners carrying warnings between warring criminal groups were put up in Villa Unión, El Roble and El Walamo.

Violence this year in Sinaloa resulted in more than 760 assassinations as of early June, mostly a result of internal feuding for control within the Sinaloa Cartel that followed the capture last year of its former leader, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The homicide number is the highest seen since 2011, according to the state’s Security Secretariat.

Source: Animal Político (sp), Milenio (sp), Ríodoce (sp)

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