The shoot-out between soldiers and suspected members of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel occurred early Monday as the soldiers were fired on during their patrol.
No soldiers were reported injured.
Monday's deadly altercation was described as one of the most violent since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in 2012. The president has vowed to fight drug cartels. In February, drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was arrested after more than a decade at large.