Mexican officials say at least 42 people were killed in a gunfight between suspected criminals and security forces in western Mexico, the latest violence in an area that has been plagued by violent drug gangs.
The officials say almost everyone killed in the shootout Friday in Michoacan state near the border with Jalisco state was a suspected gang member. At least one police officer also reportedly died in the shootout.
Mexico's National Security Commission Director Monte Alejandro Rubico called the shootout "prolonged in a sporadic way for approximately three hours in at least three different parts of the property."
Michoacan Governor Salvador Jara said the clash started when security forces stopped a suspicious vehicle, prompting its passengers to open fire.
Jara said it was likely the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel was involved, but that the confrontation was under investigation.
That cartel has killed at least 15 police officers in recent months and shot down a military helicopter in Jalisco state earlier this month, killing at least six people aboard.
Michoacan and Jalisco have endured some of the worst violence in a Mexican drug war that began to escalate in 2006, when the government deployed troops to combat cartels. Tens of thousands of people nationwide have died in clashes between drug gangs and security forces in nearly the past decade.
Some material for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.