Thirteen police killed in Mexico cartel ambush

The ambush took place in an area fought over by rival drug trafficking organizations.

(CNN)Thirteen Mexican police officers were killed in an ambush Monday in Michoacan, according to local authorities in the violent western state.

Five police vehicles were traveling through the municipality of Aguililla in the early morning when they were ambushed by more than 30 armed individuals, according to a statement from the Michoacan state prosecutor.
The attackers, in five "presumably armored" vehicles, opened fire with high caliber weapons, said the prosecutor, Adrián López Solís.
    Security forces dispatched to the scene found officers slain and injured with bullet wounds, their vehicles shot up and two of them on fire, the statement said.
    Images published on social media showed posters left on police vehicles signed "CJNG" -- the initials of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Reuters cited a state official as confirming the authenticity of the photos, which also showed warnings to police not to support rival crime gangs in the area.
    Mexico is struggling to maintain public security amid worsening violence driven by powerful drug trafficking organizations. The state of Michoacan is a strategic transit point and has long been the site of spectacular bloodshed as criminal groups battle for control.
    Mexico's security ministry condemned the attack and offered "human and technological resources" to bring the perpetrators to justice.
    The ministry initially tweeted that 14 officers had been killed, but the Michoacan state security ministry later confirmed that the death toll was in fact 13, reported CNN en Español.
    The Michoacan state security ministry also reported that three more officers suffered injuries in the attack, while prosecutors said 20 had been injured.
    The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, a dominant drug gang in the area, is "one of the most powerful and fastest growing in Mexico and the United States," according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).