CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico – Two highway shootouts between soldiers and suspected drug gang members in a northern border city resulted in 11 dead Saturday, including a bystander caught in the crossfire, Mexican authorities reported.
The violence in Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas, prompted the temporary closure of the highway, which is a major artery for travel and commerce between the United States and Mexico.
The Tamaulipas state government said in a statement that the armed confrontations began early Saturday when troops killed eight suspected criminals on the highway. Soldiers seized a truck and high-caliber weapons, it said.
An hour later another shootout broke out nearby in which two suspects were killed, along with a woman who was traveling in her car, authorities said.
The highway, which handles nearly half of the export-import cargo between Mexico and the United States, was still closed as of Saturday evening.
Nuevo Laredo has experienced high violence rates as rival factions of the Zetas drug cartel fight for control of the area.