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Mosquito Coast drug shootout in Honduras kills 17

Rival gangs were fighting over a shipment of 1,500 pounds of cocaine.

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Members of the police drug squad guard at least 400 kilos of cocaine seized in the Mosquito Coast of Honduras, on May 7, 2012. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images)

A shootout between rival drug gangs on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras has killed 17 people. It’s the highest death toll from any single fight in Honduras in recent years, according to Reuters.

The gangs fought over a shipment of about 700 kilos (1,500 pounds) of cocaine in La Mosquitia, in northeastern Honduras, General Rene Osorio told local media.

Most cocaine transported from South America to the United States travels through the isolated region, and Nicaraguan and Honduran gangs have been warring for control of the territory.

One of the people killed in the clash was Nicaraguan gang leader Victor Centeno, known as “El Muco,” Chief Prosecutor Roberto Ramirez said.

Members of Ceneno’s gang carried his body back over the border to Nicaragua, the Honduran Deputy Defense Minister said.

Unfortunately, drug-trafficking-related deaths are nothing new in Honduras, which has the highest homicide rate in the world. Government figures show that more than 3,000 people have been killed in Honduras in the first half of 2013, BBC News reported.

More from GlobalPost: Honduras gangs declare truce in effort to reduce crime, violence

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/130807/mosquito-coast-drug-shootout-honduras-kills-17