Nineteen people were killed after gunmen opened fire dead at a clandestine cockfight in one of Mexico’s worst shootings in recent years.
Sixteen men and three women were shot dead inside the venue in Las Tinajas in the western coastal state of Michoacan – one of the most lawless areas in Mexico – on Sunday.
The town has seen rising violence as the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel fights local gangs for control of drug routes.
Gang violence had been fuelling record levels of murder by the time President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in late 2018, with a pledge to reduce organised crime using a less “confrontational approach”.
But widespread trouble has persisted, and average annual murder totals are on track to be the highest under any Mexican administration since modern records began.
Last month, the United States temporarily suspended shipments of avocados from Michoacan after its inspectors received death threats.
Avocado growers in the state – the only one in Mexico fully authorised to export to the US market – face extortion due to the constant drug cartel turf battles near their farms.
Police in Las Tinajas are now trying to establish who was responsible for the shootings. Cockfighting, while illegal in many areas, remains a popular pastime in parts of Mexico.