A shooting in the western Mexican state of Michoacán between rival drug cartel members has left at least six dead, with witnesses describing that the bodies were dumped along a highway.
The police responded to reports of a violent shootout between two cartel members on Wednesday night.
Two alleged gang members were arrested and 30 vehicles and a load of weapons were confiscated.
A report quoting witnesses indicates that dozens were killed, while the official death toll is estimated at six.
The newspaper El Comercio reported that up to 100 armed men from Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and United Cartels, the latter consisting of at least five local criminal organizations, were involved.
Most of the fighting took place on the main road between the municipalities of Tocumbo and Tingüindín.
The attack is said to have begun in the small town of Tacatzcuaro, where a convoy of armored vans and trucks known as Narco tanks or monstruos (monsters in Spanish) approached the CJNG, Los Reyes.
The assassins reportedly used AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles and .9, .40 and .38 super-caliber pistols, authorities said.
Witnesses reported seeing several bodies thrown to the side of the road, all with gunshot wounds, some apparently alive and some dead, the Narcos En Mexico drug violence monitoring website said.
VIDEO : Decenas de Sicarios muertos, 30 camionetas aseguradas, el saldo de los enfrentamientos entre el CJNG – Carteles Unidos – Guardia Nacional en Michoacán pic.twitter.com/yOrSHYOxBQ
– El Diario Del Narco (@Diariodenarco) December 4, 2020
Deployed members of the National Guard, the Mexican Army, the Michoacán Police and the Municipal Police found a total of 30 abandoned vehicles, some of which had been reinforced. Many had bullet damage.
The police found the bodies of six suspected killers in the vehicles, along with 19 assault rifles, cartridges and magazines.
De igual forma, al llevar a cabo las inspecciones pertinentes, se recabaron indicios que permiten establecer de que los vehículos fueron utilizados en los hechos donde 6 personas fueron ubicadas sin vida. ¡Trabajamos por tu seguridad! #MichoacánSeEscucha pic.twitter.com/KkNJfxVgU4
– SSP MICHOACÁN (@MICHOACANSSP) December 3, 2020
The bodies have been transferred to the local forensic department where they are waiting to be identified and collected by their families.
Michoacán has been plagued by shootings between rival drug cartels, with the main group in the area known as CJNG.
The organization is run by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes or “El Mencho”, the most wanted drug dealer in the United States and Mexico.
Earlier this year, it was reported that he had built his own private hospital in the western state of Jalisco in order not to have to leave the areas controlled by the gang.
He is also known for trying to assassinate the police chief of Mexico City.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration is offering $10 million for information that led to the arrest of the former police officer.
Michoacán ended in 2019 as the sixth deadliest Mexican state by murders, with 2,049 murders recorded in the 12 months.