Nine gunmen die in shootouts with Mexican Army

Last Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 15:03

Morelia: One of the masterminds
behind an arson attack on a casino that killed 52 people last
year was killed in a gunbattle with soldiers.

Suspect Franisco Medina Mejia was among the four gunmen
killed during the confrontation on a highway near the border
city of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas, the Defense
Department said in a statement.

The army said the dead suspects had eight rifles and a
grenade launcher. One of the bodies had old burn wounds and
one of the rifles was engraved with the words "El Quemado," or
"The Burned One," Medina Mejia`s nickname.

He was allegedly a top aide to Zetas leader Miguel Angel
Trevino, and also allegedly killed Manuel Farfan, a retired
general who served as the police chief of Nuevo Laredo in
2011.

The arson attack on the casino was allegedly the work of
the Zetas drug cartel. On August 25, gunmen stormed into the
casino building, spread gasoline and set the building on fire,
trapping and asphyxiating dozens of people.

Other suspects arrested previously and accused of
ordering or carrying out the attack have said the cartel
targeted the casino because its owners hadn`t paid extortion
money, a theory officials confirm. At least one of the
casino`s owners has denied the claim to reporters.

Also yesterday, prosecutors in the western Mexico state
of Michoacan said a total of nine gunmen have died in two
confrontations with the Mexican Army.

Five male suspects died in a shootout yesterday after
they opened fire on a military patrol outside an old hacienda
in the township of Churintzio.

Two assault rifles, pistols and other weapons were found
near the suspects` bodies.
Four other men were killed in a sport utility vehicle
late Tuesday. Three of the suspects had been carrying assault
rifles.

Michoacan is home to the Knights Templar drug cartel.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 15:03

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