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 / Updated  / Source: Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — As many as 40 people were killed Friday in what authorities described as a large-scale shootout between law enforcement and criminal suspects in western Mexico.

Almost all of the dead were suspected criminals, said a Federal Police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with journalists.

There were few details of the reported gunbattle, but video obtained by The Associated Press showed federal police coming under fire and bodies strewn throughout a ranch.

The confrontation started when federal police officers tried to pull over a truck on the highway near the ranch. As police got close, people inside the truck opened fire, Michoacan Gov. Salvador Jara told Radio Formula.

According to an account of events circulated among federal police units, the first report of the confrontation came in at about 8 a.m. Friday. The government dispatched special forces and a Black Hawk helicopter as reinforcements.

The confrontation occurred near the border of Michoacan and Jalisco states, an area known as being dominated by the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which has mounted several large-scale attacks on federal and state forces in recent weeks.

While there was no immediate confirmation on the identity of the suspects, Jara told Milenio television that "it was most likely" the Jalisco cartel was involved.

The scene of the shootout is close to the community of La Barca, a Jalisco town where authorities in 2013 found more than five dozen bodies in mass graves linked to the Jalisco cartel.

— The Associated Press