Six more people were killed Tuesday in an area of northeastern Mexico where two drug cartels have been waging a bloody war since January, police said.
At least another nine people were killed over the weekend in gangland violence in the city of Morelos, in Tamaulipas state. In addition, two people were found hanging from a bridge Friday.
Five of the six dead Tuesday were minors, as were two of the weekend victims, said the Municipal Secretariat for Protection and Rescue.
The area, which borders Texas, has seen ferocious fighting between the Zetas and Gulf cartels after a recent gangland slaying. Hours-long gun battles are common, and U.S. officials were recently forced to temporarily close the consulate in Reynosa, another city in Tamaulipas state.
On Monday, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico of concerns about the security situation in the nation. The State Department issued a similar warning in March.
The trouble in Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state started January 18, when Gulf cartel members killed top Zeta lieutenant Victor Mendoza. The Zetas demanded that the Gulf cartel turn over the killers, but the narco group refused. The Zetas, composed mostly of former elite military troops, had been the armed enforcers for the Gulf cartel since 2001. They have become more independent in recent years, and the all-out war between the two cartels indicates the split is apparently permanent.