Seven people died in separate shootings in Mazatlan, a port city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, with some of the incidents drug-related, a police spokesman told Efe.

"A series of crimes occurred in different parts of the city" early Monday, the police spokesman said.

The first death happened in the Villa Union section of Mazatlan, a popular tourist destination on Mexico's Pacific coast, when a man opened fire on police officers who were trying to arrest him.

Two other people died in separate shootings in neighborhoods on the port city's outskirts, the police spokesman said.

A 35-year-old man was killed by gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles in an apparent settling of scores by criminal organizations.

The bullet-riddled bodies of two men were found inside an SUV in El Chilillo, a town located north of Mazatlan.

Gunmen riding in two SUVs, meanwhile, opened fire on two people traveling in another vehicle, killing the passenger.

Sinaloa is home to the drug cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.

The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.

Sinaloa, the birthplace of many of Mexico's drug lords, is currently the scene of a bloody turf war between Guzman and the Beltran Leyva cartel, which arose as a splinter group of the Sinaloa organization.

A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country's cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels' ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.