11 people killed in two clashes between police and criminals in Veracruz

Veracruz, which stretches along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, is an important step in the drug trafficking routes between Mexico and the United States.

(Photo: Illustrative image)
(Photo: Illustrative image)

Eleven people died Thursday in the violent state of Veracruz, in eastern Mexico, in two clashes between criminals and security forces in two central locations in the state, authorities said.

The first incident occurred in the municipality of Tierra Blanca when a group of gunmen ambushed a state police patrol with the intention of rescuing one of their accomplices who had been arrested by the agents.

The detained person "was driving a truck with stolen goods", according to a police report to which the AFP had access, and after his arrest a group of criminals who were guarding the vehicle decided to follow them and attack the police.

In the attack, an agent lost his life and two others were injured while "four armed civilians lost their lives when the police repelled the attack," according to a Mexican army source who asked to keep his identity in anonymous.

The other incident took place in Playa Vicente, about 117 km southeast of Tierra Blanca, when the police confronted a group of criminals who had kidnapped four people, according to the same military source.

According to the police, the kidnapping of a cattle producer in Playa Vicente triggered an operation to rescue him that ended in a confrontation between police and a convoy of kidnappers.

The dispute ended with the death of four of the criminals and two other people, apparently victims of the kidnapping.

The livestock producer and one more person were rescued alive.

The police presume that the kidnappers would be members of the Jalisco Nueva Generacion Cartel, one of the most powerful drug gangs in Mexico.

Veracruz, which stretches along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, is an important step in the drug trafficking routes between Mexico and the United States, which makes it a terrain of violent territorial disputes between rival criminal groups.

More than 200,000 murders have occurred in Mexico since the end of 2006 the government launched a controversial military offensive against organized crime, according to official data that does not detail how many cases are linked to the fight against crime.