18 bullet-ridden bodies discovered after suspected gunfight between the Sinaloa and Jalisco drug cartels in northern Mexico

  • The bullet-riddled bodies of 18 people were discovered in a northern Mexican township, The Guardian reported.

  • The deaths appear to be the result of a gunfight between two rival drug cartels, a state security official said.

  • The Sinalo and Jalisco cartels are competing for dominance in Zacatecas state.

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A gun battle suspected to have involved two rival drug cartels in northern Mexico left 18 dead, according to The Guardian.

The 18 bullet-riddled bodies were found in a remote, rural area near the Valparaiso township, the paper reported.

Three vehicles, one of them burned out, were also discovered at the scene, ABC News said.

The discovery followed a nearby confrontation between gunmen from the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels, a state security department spokesperson said on Friday.

Read more: I'm a 34-year-old entrepreneur who ditched her NYC apartment to live in Mexico for 6 months. It's been just the breath of fresh air I needed.

The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are just two of the groups fighting for dominance in the north-central state of Zacatecas, The Guardian reported.

The Gulf Cartel, the Northeast Cartel, and the Los Talibanes also operate in the state, according to Mexico News Daily. All five crime organizations are involved in the trafficking of fentanyl and other illegal drugs, the media outlet said.

Violence in the region has surged this year as the rival cartels compete for control of drug transit and production zones, according to Insight Crime.

On Thursday, the bodies of two abducted police officers were found hanging from an overpass in Zacatecas, the Associated Press reported. Drug cartels have traditionally done this to spook rivals or authorities, the news agency said. Police also found seven bodies with gunshot wounds in the nearby city of Fresnillo, according to AP.

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