Seven people died in a shooting in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, state officials told Efe Thursday.

The shooting occurred Wednesday night in San Blas, a community outside the city of El Fuerte, where gunmen attacked a group of men at a soccer field, a Sinaloa Attorney General's Office spokesman said.

The gunmen arrived in several vehicles and opened fire on the men, eyewitnesses told investigators.

Five of the men were pronounced dead at the scene and two others died while being transported to a hospital, the AG's office spokesman said.

The victims were from "around San Blas" and earned a living transporting cattle from Chihuahua state to Sinaloa, the AG's office spokesman said.

The incident is probably related to organized crime based on the weapons used and the way the attack was staged, investigators said.

Police found numerous bullet casings from AK-47 assault rifles at the crime scene and several vehicles, which were seized.

Drug cartels have been fighting for control of El Fuerte, where a shootout between police and gunmen left 11 people, including seven officers, dead a month ago.

Sinaloa is currently the scene of a bloody turf war involving several cartels.

The state 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 and most powerful drug cartel in Mexico.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.

More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence since late 2006.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll at 70,000. EFE