MONTERREY, Mexico— A gunbattle between Mexican soldiers and suspected drug cartel members left 22 dead at ranch near the US border, the Defense Department said Thursday.
All the dead were suspected gang members, the department said in a statement. One soldier was injured.
The military said the drug suspects provoked the gunbattle Wednesday morning, opening fire on soldiers conducting reconnaissance patrols at a ranch on the outskirts of Ciudad Mier, a northeastern town about 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of the border with Texas.
Soldiers seized 55 grenades, 18 rifles, four handguns guns, 99 ammunition clips, 1,540 rounds of ammunition and vehicles at the ranch, the statement said. They also found military style uniforms, which are frequently used by drug gangs staging attacks.
The fighting erupted hours before celebrations started across Mexico for the bicentennial anniversary of its independence from Spain.