3 of 10 suspects arrested in Mexico shootout from U.S.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
12:38 p.m. January 8, 2008

MEXICO CITY At least three U.S. residents were among 10 suspects arrested in a deadly shootout between Mexican authorities and suspected criminals just across the border from Texas.
Gunfire broke out around noon Monday when Mexican federal agents chased a van full of people carrying assault weapons in the town of Rio Bravo, across the border from Donna, Texas, according to a joint statement from Mexico's federal Attorney General's office, Defense Department and Public Safety Department.

The army and federal police sent reinforcements after the suspects took shelter, the statement said.

Witnesses described a frightening scene with gunmen breaking down doors and positioning themselves inside homes for the gun battle, which took place in front of the Rio Bravo police station, The McAllen Monitor reported.

Three suspected criminals were killed in the shootout, and five soldiers and five federal police officers were injured.

Ten people were arrested, including three suspects from the U.S., identified as Ricardo Zamora Lopez, 32, and Jose Raul Gonzalez Sanchez, 30, both of Detroit, Michigan; and Esteban Valdez de los Santos, 30, of Texas.

Authorities did not release Valdez's hometown or identify the nationality of all the other suspects.

Police also seized at least 15 guns, nine grenades and a grenade launcher, and bulletproof vests.

Some of the bodies were still lying in the street hours after the incident, Mexican news media reported.

Drug violence has plagued Rio Bravo, about 15 miles south of McAllen. The surrounding Tamaulipas state is the base for the Gulf cartel.