Mexican Army killed 12 drug cartel members clad in military gear in Nuevo Laredo on Friday, Tamaulipas state security officials said.

The armed gunmen attacked soldiers from the 16th Regiment near the airport around dawn.

In a brief statement, the Ministry of National Defense reported 12 dead criminals, as well as the seizure of two high-caliber Barrett rifles and eight AR-15 rifles.

A spokesman for the State Prosecutor's Office confirmed that the confrontation between the military and the gunmen known as the Tropa del Infierno, happened during the early hours of Friday in streets of the Los Fresnos neighborhood located west of the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

The spokesperson noted that the gunmen who were killed were wearing uniforms worn by the Navy, a common practice of the gang to confuse the state police and members of the military patrolling in Nuevo Laredo.

The gang kidnap rivals or innocent people wearing uniforms, vests and units with the initials of the Mexican Navy, according to the state source.

The Northeast Cartel maintain tight control over the border city of Nuevo Laredo, where 75% of land trade between Mexico and the United States happens.

Mexico recorded 35,620 homicides in 2019, the highest number since records are available. (ILKHA)

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