At least seven people died Friday in a wave of violence in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, where nearly 30 illegal roadblocks were set up after the arrest of a cartel leader, authorities said.
Suspected drug-gang members began setting up roadblocks and burning vehicles, banks, gas stations and other establishments in the state early Friday, Gov. Aristoteles Sandoval told the media, adding that the state remains on "red alert."
A total of 29 roadblocks were mounted in nine Jalisco municipalities, criminal actions that cut off 26 public-transport routes, according to Sandoval, who called on citizens to remain calm and only pay heed to official information.
Sandoval said the wave of violence, which also left 15 others injured, erupted in response to the arrest of the leader of a cartel active in that state, where Jalisco Nueva Generacion, the dominant gang, is being challenged by the Sinaloa and Los Caballeros Templarios mobs.
It was unclear from the governor's statement to the press, in which he accepted no questions, whether the seven dead included a police officer and three soldiers killed when their helicopter was shot down by armed assailants, according to Mexican daily El Financiero.
The governor also did not indicate how many of the seven fatal victims were police or suspected criminals.
Three others who were riding in the same chopper remain missing.
Roads inside Guadalajara's city limits and leading out of that metropolis were the most affected by the vehicle burnings.
Commercial establishments near that state capital's historical center also were set ablaze, while other arson attacks targeted gas stations and bank branches in cities such as Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast, and Ciudad Guzman, in the southern part of the state.
Clashes between members of an elite state police unit and suspected cartel enforcers also broke out in Autlan, a town in Jalisco's southern coastal region, leaving one officer dead.
The blockades prompted the deployment of state and federal police officers and Mexican army soldiers to clear the roads, sources with the Jalisco Attorney General's Office told Efe.
On Thursday, Sandoval announced the arrest of 10 suspects in an April 7 ambush that killed 15 state police officers, an attack attributed to Jalisco Nueva Generacion members.