MEXICO.- Army soldiers killed 11 suspected cartel gunmen in a clash in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas, local media reported.
The fighting broke out in the community of El Fuerte and extended to the town of Francisco Garcia Salinas, the media said, citing a military press release.
The purported criminals, who were riding in several armored SUVs and wielding high-caliber weapons, fired Wednesday on a convoy of army troops carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance tasks on a rural road, according to the report.
Eleven suspected criminals were killed in the ensuing shootout and the troops subsequently confiscated late-model vehicles, AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles and state-of-the art satellite communications gear.
Attorney General's Office, forensics and navy personnel and state and federal police were later dispatched to the area to assist in the investigation and help monitor and search for criminal gangs operating in the region.
Due to rising violence in Zacatecas, an army battalion was transferred there last August from a nearby state to provide reinforcement to other military units.
Also Wednesday, the Navy Secretariat said marines detained 18 suspected criminals - 17 males and a female, 12 of them minors - and seized nine rifles, two handguns, a pair of grenade launchers, ammunition, vehicles and cocaine and marijuana from them during an operation on Dec. 31 in Zacatecas state.
The female suspect was carrying a baby in her arms.