National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said one federal policeman died and another was injured in the three hour battle on a ranch just inside the Michoacan state border with Jalisco, home of Guadalajara, Mexico's second-biggest city.
 
The death toll was one of the heaviest to hit Mexico since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012 pledging to put an end to years of gangland violence that have claimed more than 100,000 lives since 2007 alone.
               
Government officials said the 42 killed by security forces near the town of Tanhuato were suspected members of the Jalisco New Generation (JNG) cartel, a gang based in the neighboring state that has seriously undermined Pena Nieto's pledge.
 
The gunfight began after security forces alerted to an "invasion" of the ranch approached the 112 hectare property and were fired upon by a group of armed men, Rubido said.
               
After calling in air and ground support, government forces ground down their opponents with the aid of a helicopter, in the end capturing three suspected gang members and seizing a grenade launcher and 39 guns of varying calibers, he added.

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