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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The chief bodyguard to the eldest son of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was killed in the northern coastal state of Sinaloa.

Mexico's navy said on Saturday that troops killed Francisco Zazueta, suspected of helping launch an ambush of soldiers last year, during a shootout on Friday afternoon in the town of Badiraguato, a hotbed of support for the Sinaloa Cartel and not far from where Guzman grew up.

Zazueta, also known as "Pancho Chimal," was Ivan Archivaldo Guzman's top bodyguard.

The navy troops were attacked after entering the town, where "a meeting of members of organised crime was taking place," the navy said in a statement.

Several assault rifles as well as a rocket launcher were recovered from the meeting spot.

Zazueta allegedly helped lead a September ambush of soldiers in which as many as 60 cartel gunmen attacked a military convoy that was transporting a cartel hitman whom Zazueta and others wanted to rescue.

Five soldiers were killed in the attack.

Zazueta had been detained in February but escaped from a Sinaloa jail a few weeks ago along with other cartel members.

(Reporting by Anahi Rama and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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