At least four gunmen died in a shootout earlier this weekend with marines in Novolato, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, officials said.

Four marines were wounded in the shootout, which occurred on Friday night, Sinaloa Attorney General's Office spokesmen told Efe

Marines on patrol in the city spotted a Hummer carrying several armed men, who ignored an order to stop, the AG's office spokesmen said.

Marines, soldiers, state police officers and Novolato police department officers all took part in the shootout.

The wounded marines were taken to Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa, for treatment, the AG's office spokesmen said.

Officers from several departments and the AG's office cordoned off the area so investigators could gather evidence and remove the bodies from the scene.

A former Novolato police officer was among those killed in the shootout, unofficial reports said.

Sinaloa is home to the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, whose boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, the world's most notorious and powerful drug trafficker, was arrested on Feb. 22 in Mazatlan, a port city in the northwestern state.

The Sinaloa cartel, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico.

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