Mexico City police opened fire with more than a dozen gunmen on Tuesday with a .50-caliber sniper rifle, grenades and a machine gun, officials said.
City police chief Omar García Harfuch said four officers were injured, one in critical condition.
A total of 150 officers, soldiers and three helicopters took part in the operation, which came after local residents reported that armed men were taking captive people in the area, he said.
García Harfuch said 14 suspects were taken into custody and officers freed two kidnapping victims, who had apparently been held against their will. He said a “significant amount of drugs” were also found near an abandoned restaurant that the gang was apparently using as a safe house.
The shooting took place in Topilejo, a town on the rural, southern edge of the city. The pine-covered mountains on the city’s southern edge have long been used as hideouts by kidnapping gangs and other criminals.
The police chief said the gunmen opened fire on the police as they exited the house safely on the highway leading to the nearby town of Cuernavaca.
He said the gunmen apparently worked for the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico’s most financially powerful gang, and the kidnappings were not carried out for ransom.
Garcia Harfuch is no stranger to the fact that major drug gangs operate in Mexico City.
In 2020, some two dozen gunmen ambushed García Harfuch’s armored vehicle before dawn on one of the capital’s main boulevards. The brazen attack left him with three bullet wounds and the death of two of his bodyguards and a bystander.
The police chief blamed the Jalisco New Generation Cartel for the attack. The Justice Department considers the Jalisco Cartel “one of the five most dangerous international criminal organizations in the world”.
Head of CJNG,The US Drug Enforcement Administration has offered $10 million for his arrest, one of the most wanted drug lords in the world.
“He is the number one priority for the DEA and clearly for federal law enforcement in the United States,” said DEA Agent Matthew Donahue.in 2019.
Mexico has been caught in a spiral of cartel-related violence that has killed more than 340,000 people since 2006, when the government launched a controversial anti-drug campaign with federal troops.