Gunmen kill 5 in attack on Mexico police

( Reuter )- Suspected drug cartel gunmen killed five people in an attack on a police station in central Mexico and during their subsequent escape, authorities said on Saturday.

At least six masked, heavily armed men raided the police station in the town of Jerecuaro, in the state of Guanajuato, on Friday, shooting and killing two police officers and a secretary.

Making their escape in sport utility vehicles, they gunned down another two police officers on a nearby highway, state authorities said.

Police later found one of the gunmen dead of a gunshot wound in one of three abandoned bullet-riddled vehicles that also contained hand grenades, assault rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, cocaine and police uniforms.

State police said the attack might have been a reprisal for a recent crackdown on drug cartels.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of soldiers and federal police to hot spots across Mexico, where cartel violence has killed more than 500 people so far this year, according to media, and left more than 2,500 dead in 2007.

In the Gulf coast state of Veracruz on Saturday, gunmen attacked a military checkpoint on a highway, killing one soldier before escaping, the army said in a statement.

More than 20 people were found dead in Mexico on Friday in violence linked to drug cartels, media reported.

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