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Fifteen killed in Mexico violence: Official

Fifteen people were shot dead in separate incidents in a single day in the northern Mexican border state of Nuevo Leon, as the country's wave of drug violence showed no sign of ebbing

AFP , Thursday 12 May 2011
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State government spokesman Jorge Domene said fifteen people were killed Wednesday in different parts of the state and that the violence was linked to "organized crime," referring to Mexico's powerful and increasingly brutal drug cartels.

Domene said the dead included five people who were killed when gunmen opened fire on a van in the town of San Nicolas and four alleged gunmen who were killed in a shootout with police in Guadalupe.

The Defense Ministry meanwhile announced that troops had seized a record shipment of 194 kilos of heroine in the southeast Pacific coast state of Guerrero as well as 127 kilos of opium poppy seeds and 57 grams of cocaine.

The soldiers also arrested three suspected drug dealers and seized guns and ammunition, it said in a statement.

Some 37,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon ordered a military crackdown on the cartels in 2006, according to media counts.

The states along the US border have been especially hard hit, as the cartels have battled over lucrative smuggling routes to the north.

More than 85,000 people took part in a silent protest in Mexico City's main square on Sunday to protest against the violence, according to city officials.

The demonstrators also called for the government to withdraw some 50,000 troops deployed across the country under the crackdown.

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