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Army captures 25 gunmen, weapons in raid at ranch in northern Mexico

Associated Press / June 15, 2009
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MEXICO CITY - The Mexican Army has captured 25 gunmen in northern Mexico who witnesses say disguised themselves as soldiers.

The men were captured at a ranch in the state of Chihuahua, across from Texas, after the army received a complaint, the Defense Department said in a statement yesterday. Soldiers also seized 29 automatic rifles during the Thursday raid in Nicolas Bravo.

Mexico has deployed 45,000 soldiers nationwide to crush Mexico's drug cartels but corruption among police and other government officials has hindered the crackdown.

In Cancun, soldiers arrested the local leader of the Gulf drug cartel, the army said yesterday. It said Juan Manuel Jurado Zarzoza was arrested Friday and that he was in charge of drug sales, extortion, and kidnappings in Cancun.

The department said Friday it had turned over to federal prosecutors 10 midlevel military officers accused of passing information to reputed drug cartel leader Joaquin Guzman.

Also yesterday, authorities in the western state of Michoacan said three federal agents were killed in two separate attacks along a highway.

The agents were on patrol along the Morelia-Salamanca highway late Saturday when gunmen opened fire, the state's prosecutors office said in a statement.

A witness told police the gunmen were traveling in two SUVs. Investigators recovered more then 500 shell casings from the two crime scenes.

Mexico's drug violence has claimed more than 10,800 lives since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched his antidrug campaign.