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Two Mexican marines killed as 'El Chapo' hunt continues

By Andrew V. Pestano
Two Mexican Navy marines were recently killed by a suspected drug cartel member in the Sinaloa state as the death toll mounts in the manhunt for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. On July 11, Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum security prison for the second time using a mile-long tunnel, which could have taken a year to build. File photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General
Two Mexican Navy marines were recently killed by a suspected drug cartel member in the Sinaloa state as the death toll mounts in the manhunt for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. On July 11, Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum security prison for the second time using a mile-long tunnel, which could have taken a year to build. File photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General

EL ÉBANO, Mexico, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Two Mexican marines were recently killed by a suspected drug cartel member in the Sinaloa state as the death toll mounts in the manhunt for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The Secretariat of the Navy of Mexico, or SEMAR, confirmed the incident, which occurred Monday near the El Ébano village in Sinaloa's Angostura municipality.

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"The incident occurred when naval personnel carried out urban patrolling activities near the town of Angostura, when they were attacked with a firearm by a person who was found inside a vehicle, allegedly belonging to organized crime, so we proceeded to repel the aggression, starting a firefight," SEMAR wrote in a statement.

Authorities seized 50 doses of methamphetamine, one vehicle, one handgun and ammunition -- belonging to the Mexican armed forces.

The navy stressed that "in compliance with the law, the aggression was repelled in self-defense with the sole purpose of protecting the life of the elements involved in such action."

RELATED Deaths rise in Mexico's Sinaloa state amid manhunt for 'El Chapo'

Earlier this month, the Mexican navy arrived in La Tuna, Mexico, Guzman's hometown, as part of the manhunt for the escaped drug kingpin. Authorities stopped all travel in and out of the town for several days.

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More than 14 people have died within Sinaloa recently in confrontations between security officials, Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel and other drug gangs. Authorities believe Guzman is in hiding somewhere in the Sinaloa state.

On July 11, Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum security prison for the second time using a mile-long tunnel, which could have taken a year to build.

"El Chapo" -- meaning "The Short One" or "shorty" -- so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and then extradited to Mexico to face murder and drug trafficking charges. He escaped from prison in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart after bribing prison guards, and was re-captured in February 2014.

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