Mexico City: Gunmen apparently from a drug gang ambushed Thursday a police convoy in central Mexico. They killed eight state police officers and five prosecution investigators in a hail of gunfire, authorities said. The gunmen then fled in a number of vehicles from the crime spot.
The massacre of the 13 law enforcement officers was Mexico’s single biggest slaying of law enforcement since October 2019. Then cartel gunmen had ambushed and killed 14 state police officers in the neighbouring state of Michoacan.
The ambush sparked a huge search for the killers in a rural, gang-plagued area southwest of Mexico City. The dead law enforcement officers worked for Mexico State.
While Mexico State contains suburbs of the capital, it also includes lawless mountain and scrub lands. The attack took place in one of these areas.
Rodrigo Martínez Celis, the head of the state Public Safety Department said a hunt has been launched to locate the killers. He informed soldiers, marines and National Guard troops were combing the area by land and from the air looking for the killers.
“The convoy was carrying out patrols in the region, precisely to fight the criminal groups that operate in the area,” Celis said. “This aggression is an attack on the Mexican government. We will respond with all force,” he added.
There was no immediate indication as to what gang or cartel the gunmen might have belonged to. Several operate in the area around Coatepec Harinas, where the attack occurred.
The town is near a hot springs resort known as Ixtapan de la Sal. It is popular among Mexico City residents as a weekend getaway. But it also relatively close to cities like Taxco, where authorities have reported activities by the Guerreros Unidos gang apparently allied with the Jalisco cartel and by the Arcelia gang, dominated by the Familia Michoacán crime organisation.
The attack appears to present a challenge for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He has pursued a strategy of not directly confronting drug cartels in an effort to avoid violence.