A shootout between suspected drug cartels left 18 people dead Friday in Mexico, a government official said. The gunfight happened in a remote area of Zacatecas state in the country’s north, said Rocio Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the state government. Drug-related violence has claimed more than 300,000 lives in Mexico since 2006, when the government started deploying federal troops to fight the cartels. “There were 18 dead, and the confrontation occurred in the community of San Juan Capistrano, in the municipality of Valparaiso,” Aguilar added. The battle was between rival gangs fighting over turf, she told Milenio TV. Valparaiso borders Jalisco state, a stronghold of a powerful cartel called Jalisco Nueva Generacion. Authorities say the gang is waging a violent campaign to take control of drug trafficking routes. Three vehicles, one of them burned-out, were found at the scene, as well as “a significant number of casings of different calibers,” according to the government’s Local Coordination Group, in charge of security in Zacatecas.