Sinaloa state officials announced on Saturday, July 1, that at least 19 people were killed during a clash between security forces and gunmen in the town of Villa Unión (part of the Mazatlan municipality) on Friday, June 30. According to the government's account, four trucks with 19 gunmen ambushed 15 municipal police officers before military and state police responded in support. The 19 attackers were reportedly killed and five police officers sustained minor injuries. Officials did not indicate whether or not the attackers were affiliated with a crime organization.
Mexico continues to suffer from high violent crime rates. According to official data, May 2017 was the country's most violent month since 1997, with 2000 murders recorded. Much of the violence is driven by narco-trafficking. Clashes between narco-gangs and government forces are at the highest levels since former President Felipe Calderon's war against narco-trafficking (2008 to 2011). The capture and extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, has led rival groups to attempt to take advantage of the power vacuum and establish stronger criminal networks, leading to murder rates not seen in Sinaloa since 2011.
Individuals in Sinaloa are advised to remain vigilant at all times.
Due to extreme levels of violence linked to the presence of various armed groups, many Western governments advise against travel to a large portion of Mexican territory, including Guerrero, Colima, Sinaloa, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas states and the northeastern border with the United States, as well as to a lesser extent Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Nuevo León, and Sonora states.