5 Die in shootout in northwest Mexico

Culiacan, Mexico, Mar 25 (EFE).- At least four civilians and a police officer died in a shootout and an attack Monday in Los Mochis, a city in northwestern Mexico, city officials said.

Police acting on a tip that a young man was being attacked in Los Mochis ended up pursuing the suspected assailants through the city's streets and engaging them in a shootout.

The young man died while being treated at a hospital.

Three suspected gunmen and a police officer died in the shootout, city officials and prosecutors said.

Another police officer wounded in the shootout was taken to a hospital.

Los Mochis is in Sinaloa state, which is home to the criminal organization led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, the world's most-wanted drug trafficker.

The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by Mexican officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and has an extensive drug distribution network in the United States.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Over the weekend, San Juan Mixtepec Mayor Feliciano Martinez Bautista and a municipal police officer were ambushed and murdered in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Martinez Bautista and officer Policarpo Remigio Rojas were driving through the city when they were attacked and killed around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the Oaxaca state government said.

The mayor was shot in the head and the officer was hit in the chest, officials said, adding that the vehicle rolled over after the attack.

At least 30 mayors and more than 1,200 other municipal officials were murdered by organized crime groups during the administration of former President Felipe Calderon, the National Federation of Mexican Cities said.

The war on drugs launched by Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels, which infiltrated many state and municipal police departments.

Mexican press tallies estimated that about 12,000 people died in violent incidents linked to organized crime groups in 2012.

More than 3,100 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office on Dec. 1.