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Guatemala racing row turns deadly

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At least 17 people were killed after a drunken row over a horse race between Mexican and Guatemalan drug traffickers spilled into violence, police say.

Gun battles erupted in the Guatemalan town of Santa Ana Huista, close to the Mexican border, after a disagreement over the winner of the race.

More than 100 soldiers were sent to the area to restore order.

Police said the dead included both Mexicans and Guatemalans, some with previous convictions for trafficking.

"They had been drinking at a local rodeo, and they were drunk, when they started insulting each other during a horse race and the shooting started," police spokesman Donald Gonzalez said.

Grenade-launchers and hundreds of bullets were found, along with a Mexico-registered car, Mr Gonzalez was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Both Mexico and Guatemala - key transit points for cocaine-smuggling into the United States - have been hit by growing violence as drug gangs fight over turf.



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