Gunbattles left at least 18 people dead in northern Mexico between late Sunday and early Monday, officials said, as the Nuevo Leon state police intelligence chief was killed in a violent attack.
In the latest outbreak of alleged drug-related violence, two armed groups engaged in a series of clashes in the state of Tamaulipas bordering the United States, state government officials told AFP.
State officials said an investigation had been launched into an incident but offered no details.
Tamaulipas state is the scene of spiraling violence attributed to a dispute between the the Gulf cartel and the rival Zetas.
In neighboring Nuevo Leon state, attackers blew up a car in which the state intelligence chief was riding, officials said.
Homero Salcido, head of the intelligence unit known as C-5, was driving alone late Sunday on a street in the middle of Monterrey when he was targeted by unidentified gunmen who may have caused his truck to explode by shooting the gas tank or hitting him with a small bomb, officials said.
Monterrey, a prosperous city home to the local operations of several multinational corporations, is at the intersection of several highways -- often used as drug smuggling routes -- heading north into the United States.
More than 34,600 people have died in drug violence since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed soldiers and federal police in a widespread crackdown on the illegal cartels.
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