Military and police in Guerrero arrested 18 suspected drug traffickers in two separate operations on the weekend.
The arrests were made in the municipality of Zirándaro, in the northwestern region of the state known as Tierra Caliente (Hot Country). The subjects, believed to be members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, were attempting to pass themselves off as community police, authorities said.
State security spokesperson Roberto Álvarez Heredia said that the first arrests were made around 3:00 p.m. on Saturday when a group of armed civilians attacked a troop of army, National Guard and state police officers patrolling the area.
The security forces repelled the attack and subdued the nine men, leading to their arrests and the confiscation of 12 assault weapons: one AR-15 and 11 AK-47 rifles.
They also seized magazines, ammunition, utility belts and a pickup truck modified to be an armored vehicle commonly referred to as a monstruo (monster).
The second round of arrests was made when National Guard troops discovered another group of nine armed men as a result of information gathered from the first apprehensions.
From the latter group they seized 13 long guns, one pistol, 103 magazines, 4,330 rounds of ammunition, a tear gas grenade and two pickup trucks.
“In the two events, the National Guard gave air cover with a helicopter in order to provide security for the police forces and for the protection of the general public,” Álvarez said in a statement.
The 18 people, armaments and vehicles were turned over to the federal Attorney General’s Office.