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11 suspected Zetas killed in clash near Mexico border

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The clash occurs near Falcon Lake, on the Mexican side of the border
  • Mexico's defense department says two suspected members of the Zetas were captured
  • Stratfor says the site is a key staging area for marijuana shipments

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- Mexican troops have killed 11 suspected members of the Zetas drug cartel in a shootout near the Texas border, state media reported.

Authorities also captured two suspected Zetas and seized 25 pounds of marijuana after the gun battle, Mexico's defense department said in a statement Thursday, according to the state-run Notimex news agency.

CNN affiliate KGBT reported that the clash occurred Wednesday afternoon in Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas, which is located beside Falcon Lake -- the site where American David Hartley was reportedly shot and killed in September.

Wife Tiffany Hartley told authorities her husband was shot in the head there, and she was unable to haul his body onto her personal watercraft before being forced to flee.

Law enforcement officials say the Zetas control the Mexican side of the lake, which was created when the Rio Grande was dammed in the 1950s. It is a key staging area for marijuana shipments, according to Stratfor.

The Zetas used to be the armed branch of the Gulf Cartel but split off into a separate drug-trafficking organization earlier this year.