Shootout in Mexico leaves 10 dead

Mexico City, Mar 20 (EFE).- Ten suspected drug-cartel enforcers were killed in a battle with police and soldiers in central Mexico, authorities said.

The confrontation occurred during a joint patrol by police and army troops in the Pinal del Marquesado mountains, the Mexico state government said.

Assailants in an SUV opened fire on the convoy of state police and army vehicles near the entrance to a mountain pass, according to the official account.

"In repelling the gunfire, military and state police personnel killed the 10 occupants of the attacking vehicle," the statement said, adding that seven assault rifles, a grenade-launcher and a large quantity of ordnance were confiscated.

The army-police patrol was struck by a grenade during the clash, but nobody was hurt in the blast.

El Universal newspaper said on its Web site that the gunmen were members of La Familia Michoacana, a once-powerful criminal organization that has been weakened by internal splits.