8 dead in gunbattles in central Mexico state of Zacatecas

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — A pair of gunbattles in the central Mexico state of Zacatecas has left eight men dead.

State prosecutors said Saturday that vehicles and guns were found at the scene of the shootouts near the town of Valparaiso, which is located near the border with Jalisco state. The gunmen may have been killed in turf battles between the Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels.

National Guard and army troops responded to the shootings, but the dead have not yet been identified.

The shootings late Friday came three days after police discovered three more bodies hung from a highway overpass in Zacatecas, where 10 other bodies were found the previous week, nine of them hanging from an overpass.

On Wednesday, the Mexican army announced that it will send three helicopter gunships to Zacatecas, a weapon that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expressly said he no longer wants to use or accept from the United States.

The Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels have been battling for control in the state, which is a key transit point for drugs, especially the powerful synthetic pain killer fentanyl, moving north to the U.S. border.

In the first nine months of the year, Mexico had more than 25,000 murders, a number 3.4% less than the same period a year earlier, according to federal data.

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