Mexico: clashes between drug traffickers and police, 15 killed

At least 14 people have died in a shootout between police and rival drug gangs in Mexico.The State Attorney General Cesar Augusto Peniche initially said 26 people were dead, but later revised the figure.Investigators believe the groups involved in the shootout were “La Linea” – the armed wing of the Juarez cartel – and hitmen from the powerful Sinaloa cartel, Esparza told AFP.Initial reports put the death toll at 26, but Felix Gonz├ílez, a spokesman for the state prosecutor, said that 14 deaths had been confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon. Authorities called in a Black Hawk helicopter to help in the search in the area, which is in a region known for marijuana and opium poppy production. Twenty rifles were found at the scene, along with grenades and grenade launchers.”These criminals were the ones who killed in a cowardly way two of our agents a week ago”, Aparicio said, noting there were about 50 gunmen in one of the gangs.Several cartels of drug operate along the border area with the United States, the primary destination for cocaine traffickers from South America.The incident is the latest in a series of deadly clashes between rival drug gangs and also with the police across Mexico.Last Friday, 17 people died in a shootout with police in the neighbouring state of Sinaloa. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto came to office in 2012 vowing to end years of drug violence, and although the murder rate fell initially, it has been rising steadily and is on track to hit its highest level since recent government records began in 1997.