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Cochise County on high alert after deadly shooting south of border

Cochise County on high alert after deadly shooting south of border

By Marcelino Benito. CREATED Jan 18, 2014

COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV/AP) - Mexican authorities say at least four men died in a series of shootouts in the city of Agua Prieta, across the border from Douglas, Arizona.
   
Sonora state police said in a statement Saturday that two groups of criminals clashed before dawn in several of the city's neighborhoods. At least three bystanders were wounded.
   
The statement said that three of the dead men are from the neighboring state of Sinaloa and that the fourth victim has not been identified.
   
Police found the bodies scattered throughout Agua Prieta.
   
Authorities didn't say what groups participated in the firefights but the area has seen an increase in violence as the Sinaloa and Zetas drug cartels fight over turf.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Department not taking chances. The department is on high alert to ensure the violence doesn't spill over into the United States.

"Our information indicates that this is an internal fight within the confines of the country of Mexico and will most likely stay there, however we remain vigilant in our duty to protect our citizens at all costs," said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.

"If in fact there are criminal factions that intend to bring their issues to the United States, we want to assure them that we are working closely with local, state, and federal agencies to be prepared as necessary and be successful in our mission to stop any violence from occurring in our county."