18 killed in Mexico drug shootout

June 8th, 2009 - 8:30 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, June 8 (IANS) At least 18 people were killed in a gun battle between the military and suspected members of a drug gang in Mexico’s resort city of Acapulco, the defence ministry said Sunday.
Two soldiers and 16 gunmen were killed in the shootout that began Saturday night after the army raided an area in the Las Playas neighbourhood following a tip-off about the presence of the drug cartel members, EFE reported.

Nine military officers were wounded in the clash, in which 200 soldiers were involved. Five other gunmen were also arrested.

Army troops arrested five gunmen, and seized huge cache of arms and ammunitions and eight vehicles from the attackers, who were believed to be the members of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

Acapulco, one of the main tourist resorts along Mexico’s Pacific coast, is located about 400 km south of Mexico City.

Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence, with powerful cartels battling each other and the security forces, as rival gangs vie for control of lucrative smuggling and distribution routes.

Armed groups linked to Mexico’s drug cartels murdered around 1,500 people in 2006 and 2,700 people in 2007, with the 2008 death toll soaring to more than 6,000.

So far this year, according to media reports, more than 2,700 people have died in organised crimes.

Last year, there were 6,290 deaths in clashes between Mexico’s drug gangs, and between drug gangs and the military, according to official figures.

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