Cartel gunmen 'in army uniforms' massacre 20 spectators at secret cockfight

TWENTY people have reportedly been killed after gunman opened fire at a secret cockfighting event.

Seventeen men and three women were shot dead during the bloody massacre in the Las Tranjas region of Michoacan, Mexico.

The incident took place just after 10:30 pm on Sunday night as a suspected team of cartel members wearing military uniforms burst into the crowded venue.

Four other civilians were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds as cops discovered more than 100 assault rifle bullet shells littered across the ground.

Mexico's President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, blamed criminal gangs in the area for the killings, vowing that a full investigation would take place.

"It was a massacre of one group by another," he told a news conference.

On Monday, Mexican army and national guard troops were deployed to capture those responsible as a further 15 vehicles were seized.

However, it remains unclear which organised crime group they may belong to.

Last month, it was revealed that gang violence in Mexico is continuing to rise at an alarming rate amid a bloody new cartel war.

The violence has even spilled over into popular tourist resorts such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

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In January, two Canadians were murdered by a hitmen who had a wristband to get past security at the Hotel Xcaret resort, south of Playa del Carmen.

And in November four Americans were injured in a deadly shootout between rival dealers on a beach next to the five-star Hyatt Ziva Riviera in Cancun.

That came a fortnight weeks after two women — a California travel blogger and a German tourist — were killed in crossfire between rival gangs at a resort bar in Tulum.

Tourism chiefs now fear the bloodshed means the Quintana Roo region will lose its reputation as a safe haven for package holiday makers and spring breakers.

The governments of the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Germany have all issued travel warnings about the resorts.

Experts say it is the visitors themselves who are driving the gang war — as they fuel rising demand for illicit drugs.

Robert Almonte, who is an expert on Mexican drug cartels, told The Sun that he believes the violence has stemmed from battles being fought between the two main drug cartels operating in the area, the Gulf Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

The notorious Sinaloa Cartel once led by jailed drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is also active at the resorts.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded to the crisis late last year by sending 1,500 uniformed National Guard troops down to the state of Quintana Roo.

Soldiers from the Tourist Battalion can now be seen patrolling beaches as the Government looks to double down on the violent affairs.  

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