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Mexican troops kill 12 criminal suspects in gun battle

Mexican troops pursued and shot dead 12 suspected criminals in a gun battle in Zacatecas state, which lies on a key drug-smuggling route in central Mexico, the BBC reported.

Agence France-Presse reported the fighting broke out Wednesday after the two sides ran into each other in the city of Rio Grande. Troops chased the suspects for more than 30 miles to the town of Sombrerete.

Two women and 10 men were killed in the clash, Mexican newspaper Milenio reported.

On New Year’s Eve, the Mexican navy arrested 18 suspected drug traffickers in the same state, the BBC reported.

Those detained included 12 boys and a woman with a baby.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico in recent years; the previous administration under former President Felipe Calderon waged a deadly war against the country's powerful drug cartels.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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