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Gang clashes kill 18 in Mexican town

Associated Press / March 8, 2011

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CULIACAN, Mexico — Gun battles between rival gangs killed 18 people in a northeastern Mexican town yesterday, a day after seven police officers and an inmate died in an ambush of a convoy transporting prisoners in northwestern Mexico.

The Tamaulipas state government said in a statement that state and federal security forces had arrived in the town of Abasolo to restore order and investigate.

Six other officers and a second prisoner were wounded in the attack Sunday in Sinaloa state, in which gunmen traveling in about 20 vehicles caught police in a crossfire, state Attorney General Marco Antonio Higuera said.

The police convoy was traveling to the state capital of Culiacan when it came under attack by gunmen who had been lying in wait on a highway Sunday.

In a separate development, a 20-year-old woman who made international headlines when she accepted the job as police chief in a violent Mexican border town was fired yesterday for apparently abandoning her post after receiving death threats.

Marisol Valles Garcia was granted a 5-day leave of absence but failed to return to Praxedis G. Guerrero as agreed, officials said in a statement.

Also yesterday, police in the resort city of Acapulco reported finding three severed heads in plastic bags outside a tunnel that connects central Acapulco to the outskirts of the city.

Police also announced the capture of a suspected prominent drug gang member who allegedly oversaw kidnappings, extortion, bribery, and drug distribution for the “independent cartel of Acapulco.’’ Benjamin Flores Reyes was arrested Sunday after a six-month investigation.

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