Three police officers and a suspect were killed and seven suspected drug cartel members were arrested Friday after a dramatic gun battle on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City.
It was a glimpse of drug cartel violence that the country’s capital rarely sees but is common in the northern and western parts of the country.
Police said two officers were killed early Friday in a town east of the capital as they approached a house where a kidnapping and murder gang was allegedly hiding, according to police in the state of Mexico, which borders the capital. They said the suspects were also wanted for murder.
Four kidnapping victims were found in the home before gunfire broke out. The first shooting happened near the town of San Antonio La Isla, about 35 miles east of the capital.
The suspects then fled in a vehicle to Mexico City and continued shooting at pursuing officers, killing one police officer from the capital. The perpetrators then crashed their car into a lamppost. Some were injured in the accident, others fled on foot but were taken into custody.
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A woman was among those arrested. Weapons found at the scene included a number of high-powered rifles.
The city’s police chief, Omar Garcia Harfuch, said the suspects appeared to have worked for the hyper-violent Jalisco cartel. “They say they belong to a group in Jalisco,” Garcia Harfuch said. “They wore insignia associated with the Jalisco Cartel.”
He said the suspects were trying to reach a hideout that the gang appeared to be operating in Mexico City.
Mexico City officials have long acknowledged that the country’s largest drug cartels have a presence in the capital. But they’ve claimed the sheer size of the Mexico City police force — about 90,000 officers by some counts — and terrible traffic jams have prevented cartel gunmen from operating openly in the city like they do elsewhere.
Garcia Harfuch himself was targeted by the Jalisco cartel in a 2020 attack on a Mexico City street.
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In the 2020 attack, about two dozen gunmen ambushed García Harfuch’s armored vehicle before dawn on one of the capital’s main boulevards. The brazen attack left him with three gunshot wounds and his two bodyguards and a bystander dead.
Prominent Mexican journalist Ciro Gómez Leyva escaped, shaken but unharmed, from an attack last December when two gunmen on a motorcycle tried to kill him in a late-night attack on a Mexico City street. He was saved because his SUV was bulletproof.
During raids and searches that led to the arrest of 11 suspects, police found a cap with the letters CJNG, the initials of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
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