A wave of violence left 22 people dead in the neighboring Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas over the weekend. In Tamaulipas in northeast Mexico, a confrontation between police and armed civilians resulted in the deaths of nine people, while 13 bodies were found in different areas in the Gulf state of Veracruz.
The violence began on Saturday afternoon, when law enforcement agents of Tamaulipas' state police on patrol between the Rio Bravo and Valle Hermoso municipalities encountered a group of armed men.
According to a statement released by authorities, the armed men opened fire against the police in order to avoid being detained. The police said they repelled the gunfire, leaving nine gunmen dead. Authorities said the dead attackers have yet to be identified, and that they seized nine long arms, ammunitions, and two vehicles after the shootout.
South of Tamaulipas, the state of Veracruz also experienced a violent weekend, with 13 deaths reported in just 36 hours. The string of murders began on Saturday evening, with the killing of a local official of the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Workers, or ISSSTE. Jose Manuel Valencia Zarate died after two gunmen entered his house and attacked, also inflicting serious injuries on his wife.
Also on Saturday, the bodies of three alleged human traffickers were found in the luggage compartment of a taxicab in a highway of the Yanga municipality. According to witnesses, unknown attackers opened fire at the taxi were the victims travelled, but they allowed the taxi driver to exit the car before the shootout began.
On Sunday, the bodies of five young men bearing signs of torture were found in the state's capital. Another two corpses showing lacerations were found on separate roads, one of them belonging to 29-year-old Julio Cesar Reyes. The last two victims were found in Tlacolulan and Xalapa.
Tamaulipas and Veracruz are considered Zetas or Gulf cartel territory, both criminal organizations that have taken serious hits in recent months at the hands of Mexico's government.
The uptick in violence in the region comes just two weeks after the spectacular escape of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman from a federal prison. The Sinaloa cartel, which Guzman leads, is considered the chief rival of the Zetas or its remaining off-shoot groups.
In all the incidents this weekend, authorities did not reveal any possible criminal associations of the victims.
Below, a VICE News video dispatch on the conflict on the other side of Mexico, Michoacan:
[ooyalacontent_id="t3cjhydDolPhNX3yjHQkOMcRrJDAmjJY"player_id="YjMwNmI4YjU2MGM5ZWRjMzRmMjljMjc5" auto_play="1" skip_ads="0"]
Follow @VICENews on Twitter for updates from Mexico.