12:00 AM, December 07, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 07, 2016

14 suspects killed in shootout with Mexico police

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Mexican police working with military troops killed 14 suspected criminals in a shootout in the crime-plagued state of Veracruz on Monday, officials said.

Authorities have stepped up antidrug patrols in the Gulf coast state, where cartels are responsible for a spike in crime.

Officials said police patroling the region came under fire from a criminal gang hidden behind a small hill in the town of Suchilapan, a mountainous area on the border of Veracruz state and Oaxaca to the south.

Marine troops were enlisted after the assault to help flush out the attackers, and an ensuing gunfight resulted in the deaths of the 14 suspected criminals, a government statement said.

The village of Suchilapan is along the route frequently used by Central American migrants attempting to make the dangerous crossing through Mexico to the United States.

It also has been the scene in recent days of various skirmishes between armed forces and criminal drug gangs, including Mexico's notorious Zetas and the Jalisco New Generation, two of the country's most powerful cartels.

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