The Americas

Mexico says 2 top drug traffickers killed near US border

Two top drug traffickers have been killed in pre-dawn shootouts Saturday with federal force in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas, authorities reported.

The Tamaulipas security spokesman's office says the men were killed in separate confrontations, which left highways littered with burned-out vehicles.

Julian Loisa Salinas, better known as "Comandante Toro," was killed in the border city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Loisa Salinas reportedly led the Gulf cartel in Reynosa. Authorities have tried to capture him a number of times, leading to gun battles with his gang. In early April, two U.S. citizens were reported wounded in one such gunfight.

On Saturday, photos showed burned-out cars, trucks and buses littering the streets, and state authorities said his supporters had set fires and tried to block roads in Reynosa in an unsuccessful effort to help him escape.

Also Saturday, the leader of the rival "Zetas" cartel in the Tamaulipas state capital of Ciudad Victoria was killed in a similar shootout further south. He was tentatively identified as Francisco "Pancho" Carreon.

The two were believed to be behind much of the recent violence in Tamaulipas.