June 16 - Six suspected members of the Zetas drug gang are killed in a shootout with security forces in western Mexico. Nick Rowlands reports.
The bodies of suspected drug gang members killed in a shootout with police in rural western Mexico on Tuesday. Six people were killed and 10 arrested, including six women - two of whom were minors. The fighting began when the suspected hitmen opened fire on police, backed up by troops, who were acting on a tipoff from police in a neighbouring state. Luxury vehicles and a cache of heavy weapons - including a machine gun - were seized. A 16-year-old male detainee admitted he worked for the Zetas drug gang. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) UNIDENTIFIED SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD ARRESTED SUSPECT: "I was recruited by force and brought to work in Zacatecas. My parents are worried because they don't know where I am or what I'm doing. We were on board a convoy to receive training. I'm sixteen-years-old." The State Public Security Director said experience and training were the key to the success of the operation. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JALISCO STATE PUBLIC SECURITY DIRECTOR, ALEJANDRO SOLORIO: "Some of the vehicles have a simple armour which can withstand the weapons we use but on this occasion, fortunately, our training and weapons allowed us to succeed." The incident took place near Guadalajara, in the western state of Jalisco. The state had long been spared the violence tainting other areas of the country, but drug-related killings more than doubled last year to almost 600. A collapse in security in Jalisco - which accounts for almost 7 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product - would be a blow for the country's president as he struggles to reassure people that his drugs war strategy is working, and that Mexico is a safe country in which to invest. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.