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Gunmen kill 11 Mexican police officers

By Gloria Perez
Associated Press

TOLUCA, Mexico — Eleven policemen have been shot to death near Mexico City in a three-day string of drug-gang attacks, prosecutors said Sunday.

Mexico State prosecutor Alberto Bazbaz said 10 suspects believed linked to drug gangs have been arrested in the killings, which mainly occurred on highways and at police checkpoints in the state that loops around Mexico's capital. Some of the suspects were carrying rifles and grenades at the time of their arrest.

Bazbaz said that many of the suspects were from the neighboring state of Michoacan, a hotbed of drug violence dominated by a drug gang known as "The Family."

But he said evidence indicates that low-level traffickers and criminals, rather than organized cartel hit squads, were responsible for the attacks.

It was not clear if the killings were part of a coordinated plan.

Mexico State police commander German Garciamoreno said police patrols will be beefed up to confront the violence. The state, like many others across the country, has faced increased drug trafficking and threats against local authorities.

In Tijuana, on the northern border across from San Diego, California, police found two decapitated bodies wrapped in blankets in a vacant lot early Sunday.

The victims' heads were found nearby in a plastic bag. Cartel hit men in Mexico have increasingly been decapitating their rivals, apparently to spread fear and intimidation.

Meanwhile, federal police reported on Saturday that they arrested the reputed leader of the violent Gulf drug cartel for the border city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas.

Federal police said in a statement that Antonio Galarza was arrested in the northern city of Monterrey on Friday on suspicion of weapons violations and organized crime. He is being held under house arrest while authorities complete their investigation.

Reynosa is a major shipping point for cocaine heading to the U.S. market and is dominated by the violent hit squad known as the Zetas.

Also on Saturday, unidentified persons strung a series of drug cartel messages on banners along roadsides in the Pacific coast resorts of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo. The messages appeared to have been written by the Zetas and accused federal officials of protecting a rival cartel.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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