Shootouts claim 14 lives in northern Mexican border city

MEXICO CITY: At least 14 people were killed in a series of shootouts in the northern Mexican border city of Reynosa on Tuesday as gunmen battled police in a region racked by violence between warring drug gangs.

Assailants in armored vehicles opened fire on federal police and military officers in three shootouts in Tamaulipas, an unruly state on the U.S. border where the brutal Zetas drug gang has fought the Gulf Cartel for control.

The death toll in Reynosa, which is directly across the border from Hidalgo, Texas, included 10 gunmen, two federal police officers as well two young adults who were caught in the
crossfire while driving in separate vehicles.

It was not immediately clear if the gunmen were affiliated with any drug cartels, which vie for control of lucrative smuggling routes into the United States.

Some of the slain gunmen were killed while still in their trucks, while others were found dead on the street, a security official told Reuters.

Drug violence in Mexico has claimed more than 85,000 lives since the start of 2007 when then-President Felipe Calderon ordered the military to engage the cartels.

Calderon’s successor, President Enrique Pena Nieto, pledged to end the violence when he took office in December 2012. But although police data shows killings have dropped somewhat, large areas of the country are still convulsed by cartel violence.