Mexico City: Security forces killed 19 people described as suspected drug criminals in three separate clashes in Mexico`s troubled Tamaulipas state, one of the regions hardest hit by violence, officials said Wednesday.
They said the suspects were killed during skirmishes with police and military forces near the northeastern towns of Matamoros and Rio Bravo near Mexico`s border with the United States.
The clashes occurred around the same time late Tuesday, when police and military forces came under attack from the alleged criminals, authorities said.
A government statement said various weapons were recovered, including high caliber firearms, as well as bullet-proof vests and a van that had been reported stolen.
Tamaulipas has seen a sharp uptick in violence in recent years, amid intensifying turf battles between the state`s two most powerful drug gangs, the Los Zetas and the Gulf cartels.