Gunmen Abduct 14 State Police Officers in the Mexican State of Chiapas

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Armed men abducted 14 state police officers in southern Mexico on Tuesday, prompting a heavy deployment of federal and local forces, authorities said.

The Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection in Chiapas state said in a statement that the officers were all men, and an air and ground operation was underway to locate them.

An official with the state police force, who asked not to be quoted because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media, said that the agents were traveling to the capital of Chiapas in a personnel transport truck when they were intercepted by several trucks with gunmen.

The women in the vehicle were released, while the men were taken away, the official said.

The abduction occurred on the highway between Ocozocoautla and Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Violence in the Mexican border region with Guatemala has escalated in recent months amid a territorial dispute between the Sinaloa Cartel, which has dominated the area, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

During a tour of Chiapas on Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador minimized the violence in the area, saying that "in general there is peace, there is tranquility" in the state.

The day before the president's visit, an official with the Attorney General's Office was shot in Tuxtla Gutierrez and her companion was killed. The official was seriously wounded and was hospitalized.

In addition, on June 19, a confrontation between the military and presumed members of organized crime left an element of the National Guard and a civilian dead in Ocozocoautla, near where Tuesday's kidnapping occurred.