Two men guarding a cocaine lab in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz died in a confrontation with police, official news agency ABI said.

The incident took place early Wednesday in the village of Nuevo Horizonte when officers moved in to shut down the lab, ABI reported, citing the regional police commander, Col. Fernando Amurrio.

The police "were attacked by armed narco-traffickers" guarding the cocaine lab and two of the criminals were killed in the ensuing shootout, Amurrio said.

Three police officers were wounded, the colonel said, adding that residents of Nuevo Horizonte subsequently abducted several cops on patrol.

Police destroyed 230 drug labs last year in the area around Nuevo Horizonte, which lies near Bolivia's borders with Brazil and Paraguay, and shut down another 249 cocaine-producing operations in June of this year. EFE