MEXICO CITY, Nov 19, 2010 (AFP) - Mexican troops clashed in the northern state of Tamaulipas with gunmen believed to belong to the "Los Zetas" drug cartel, killing 11 of them, the Defense Ministry said.
The gunfight occurred Wednesday night when a patrol responded to reports of armed men in the town of Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, the ministry said in a statement.
It said the gunmen fired on the patrol, triggering the firefight.
"Eleven presumed aggressors died," the ministry said, adding that two others who were taken into custody said they belonged to Los Zetas, a group formed in the 1990s by former members of an elite military unit.
After the clash, security forces recovered nine rifles, four handguns, a grenade launcher and bullet-proof vests, the ministry said.
An estimated 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence over the past four years in Mexico as cartels have fought among themselves for control of drug routes, and the government has unleashed the military.
Tamaulipas, one of the states most affected by the violence, is where 72 illegal immigrants were massacred in August, allegedly by Los Zetas.