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3 cops killed in Mexico City shootout with cartel gunmen


MEXICO CITY — Three police officers and a suspect were killed and seven suspected drug cartel members were arrested Friday following a dramatic shooting spree east of Mexico City.

It was a glimpse of drug cartel violence that the nation’s capital rarely sees, but has become common in the north and west of the country.

Police say two officers were killed in a town just east of the capital on Friday morning when they approached a house where a gang of kidnappers and murderers were hiding, according to police in State of Mexico, which borders the capital. They said the suspects were also wanted for murders.

Four kidnapping victims were found in the house before the gunshots erupted. The first shooting took place near the town of San Antonio La Isla, about 50 kilometers east of the capital.

The suspects then fled in a vehicle towards Mexico City and continued to fire on the pursuing officers, killing a police officer in the capital. The suspects then crashed their car into a lamp post. Some were injured in the crash, and some fled on foot but were taken into custody.

Among those arrested was a woman. Weapons found at the crime scene included a number of high-powered rifles.

The city’s police chief, Omar Garcia Harfuch, said the suspects apparently worked for the hyper-violent Jalisco Cartel. “They say they belong to a group in Jalisco,” said Garcia Harfuch. “They were wearing insignia related to the Jalisco Cartel.”

He said the suspects were trying to reach a safe house the gang apparently operated in Mexico City.

Mexico City officials have long acknowledged that the country’s major drug cartels have a presence in the capital. But they claimed the sheer size of Mexico City’s police force – some 90,000 officers by some figures – and terrible traffic jams prevented cartel gunmen from operating openly in the city as they do elsewhere.

Garcia Harfuch was himself targeted by the Jalisco cartel in a 2020 attack on a street in Mexico City.

During the 2020 attack, around 20 gunmen ambushed García Harfuch’s armored vehicle before dawn on one of the capital’s main boulevards. The brazen attack left him with three gunshot wounds and his two bodyguards and a passerby dead.

Prominent Mexican journalist Ciro Gómez Leyva escaped shaken but unscathed from an attack last December, when two gunmen on motorbikes tried to kill him in a nighttime attack on a Mexico City street. He was saved because his SUV was armored.

During raids and searches that led to the detention of 11 suspects, the police found a cap with the letters CJNG, the initials of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

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