March 19th, 2010
02:12 PM ET

Drug criminals block roads in Mexico

Five presumed drug gang members and one soldier were killed in shootouts Thursday and Friday after criminals blocked thoroughfares in two northern Mexico states to prevent military reinforcements from arriving, authorities said.

The criminals used cars, transit buses and tractor-trailers to block roads and streets in the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico, said an official with the Nuevo Leon public security office. The official was briefed on the incidents but declined to be named because she is not allowed to speak for the department.

Three gang members were killed Thursday in Tamaulipas and two died early Friday in the city of Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon, the official said. One soldier was killed and four wounded in the Tamaulipas confrontation, the security official said.

Two of the road blocks happened Thursday and five more were set up before dawn Friday, the official said. All were cleared within a matter of hours.

The area, which borders Texas, has seen bloody fighting between the Zetas and Gulf cartels after a recent gangland slaying. Hours-long gun battles are common, and U.S. officials were forced to temporarily close the consulate in the city of Reynosa recently due to the runaway violence.

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Filed under: Drug violence • Mexico
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