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Gunmen blockade western Mexico city

By Associated Press
December 10, 2010

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MORELIA, Mexico — Gunmen blockaded a western Mexican city yesterday with vehicles they stole from motorists and then set on fire in a second day of violence that has left at least five people dead in the region, including an 8-month-old baby.

The gunmen arrived at all five roads leading into Morelia and fired into the air to force drivers and passengers from their vehicles, said Jonathan Arrendondo, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office of Michoacan state, where the city is located.

A reporter saw a 75-year-old man being treated for a bullet wound to a leg. Witnesses said the man had been a passenger on a bus and was struck by the bullet as he tried to flee.

Such blockades have become a common cartel tactic in Mexico’s raging drug war.

The practice started earlier this year in northeastern Mexico, where the Gulf and Zetas drug gangs are locked in a fierce turf war. It recently spread to Michoacan, home state of President Felipe Calderón.

Michoacan is a stronghold of La Familia cartel, which is known for beheadings and brash attacks against government security forces.

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