4 police officers killed, burned by gang in northern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Gunmen opened fire on a patrol of four state police officers in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas, then poured gasoline on their patrol vehicle and burned the officers.

The state police department said late Thursday that other police patrols pursued the attackers, killing two and arresting seven of them. They found the dead officers’ bulletproof vests and ammunition magazines in the suspects’ possession.

Hours later on Friday, police uncovered a drug cartel camp nearby where two kidnap victims had been held in captivity since January. No arrests were made at the camp.

The department did not say which gang the attackers belonged to, but remnants of the old Zetas cartel have been active there.

The largely agricultural state of Zacatecas has increasingly become the focus of turf battles between rival cartels, including the Zetas remnants, the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels, and the rival Jalisco New Generation cartel.

The state saw murders rise from just 44 in January 2020, to 161 in January 2021.

The two dominant cartels, Sinaloa and Jalisco, have been fighting it out in other states in Mexico, and both have now reportedly moved their battle into Zacatecas, allying themselves with local groups.