GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The Mexican government is investigating an attack in the western state of Jalisco that killed four soldiers and wounded two, a federal official said Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to be quoted by name, said the soldiers were transporting stolen gasoline they had seized when they were ambushed by gunmen.
Their military truck was headed to the federal prosecutors' office in the state capital of Guadalajara on Monday when they were attacked in Guachinango, a town about 80 miles away (130 kilometers), the official said.
The assailants intentionally crashed a pickup truck into the army vehicle, setting it ablaze, and began shooting at the troops, who didn't have a chance to return fire, he said. Investigators recovered hundreds of spent bullet casings, he added.
The official said investigators suspected the attack was staged by members of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, which operates in Jalisco and in neighboring Michoacan state. The cartel is thought to be locked in a turf war with the Knights Templar cartel in Michoacan and has been accused of supporting some of the civilian vigilante groups that have been fighting with the rival gang the past year.
In November, Jalisco state authorities linked Jalisco New Generation to dozens of bodies discovered in mass graves in the community of La Barca near Lake Chapala, which is popular with Canadian and U.S. expatriates and tourists.