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Citing gun battles, State Dep't warns against Agua Prieta travel

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Citing gun battles, State Dep't warns against Agua Prieta travel

A series of gun battles in the Mexican border town has led the State Department to warn U.S. citizens against traveling to Agua Prieta, Sonora, after dark.

At least 8 people have been reported killed in the fire fights, which have included the use of automatic weapons, .50 caliber machine guns and hand grenades, according to the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. The battles are likely a dispute within a drug cartel, officials said.

Another gun battle overnight Monday prompted the U.S. Consulate General in Nogales, Sonora, to caution against "non-essential travel after sunset" in the border town.

"The recent firefights have taken place at night. It is probable that future battles will also occur at night," a statement released Tuesday by the consulate read, citing a gun battle that took place around midnight and into early Tuesday morning.

From the statement:

U.S. citizens are reminded that when gunfire occurs, you should take shelter at your home or workplace and remain clear of all doors and windows.  Additionally, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office has stepped up patrols near Douglas, on the U.S. side of the border across from Agua Prieta, spokeswoman Carol Capas said.

Capas said 8-13 people were killed in Agua Prieta in two shooting incidents early Saturday.

"Our information indicates that this is an internal fight within the confines of the country of Mexico and will most likely stay there, however we remain vigilant in our duty to protect our citizens at all costs," Sheriff Mark Dannels said in a news release over the weekend.

The Facebook page Druglas Narizona posted several photos and videos, reportedly of the shootouts, including pictures of dead bodies and shot-up vehicles.

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