The reputed chief of security for fugitive drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán died after a shootout with marines in the western state of Sinaloa, a source in the Mexican Attorney General's Office told Efe on Friday.

Jonathan Salas Avilez was wounded in Thursday's battle in Culiacán, the state capital, and died a few hours later at a hospital in the city, the source said.

An unidentified associate accompanying Salas Avilez at the time of the incident was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Traveling in an armored SUV, the two men engaged in a running gunbattle with marines who pursued them on land and in a helicopter until the suspects' vehicle ran off the road, crashed and burst into flames.

Found inside the SUV were four AK-47 assault rifles, a handgun and dozens of ammunition clips.

Sinaloa is the birthplace of the first generation of Mexican drug kingpins, including "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzmán, whose estimated fortune of $1 billion qualifies him for a spot on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people.

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Guzmán was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico, where he was convicted and sentenced to prison. But the drug lord escaped from a maximum-security prison in 2001 and remains at large.

Since the jailbreak, El Chapo has built his Sinaloa cartel into Mexico's most powerful criminal organization.

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