05/04/2015 03:36 EDT | Updated 05/05/2015 01:59 EDT

Canadians In Mexico Warned Of Drug Cartel War In Puerto Vallarta And Guadalajara

Mexico's government is moving against a cartel that one author calls the strongest in Jalisco since the 1980s.

Canadians in two major Mexican cities were warned to stay at home amid a spike in drug-cartel violence in the state of Jalisco on Friday.

A Facebook message from the Canadian Embassy in Mexico advised people in the Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara areas to "avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings" and to "limit their movements throughout the cities."

It came as the Mexican drug cartel Jalisco New Generation launched attacks that led to seven deaths and downed a military helicopter, The Associated Press reported.

The violence began following a clampdown on the cartel by armed forces on Friday. Cars, banks, buses and gas stations were set aflame as cartel members exchanged gunfire with police and soldiers.

Mexico's government is on a mission against the cartel and Jalisco New Generation leader Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera Cervantes after 15 police officers were killed in an ambush last month, author Jose Reveles told the news agency.

"Everything points to an increase in violence because there hasn't been a cartel this strong in the state since the 1980s," he said.

As many as 125,000 Canadians live in Mexico and other Latin American countries at least part-time, The Province reported last year.

The U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara said "criminal activity" taking place in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta had been "brought under control" on Saturday.

It warned, however, that "clashes between criminal organizations and Mexican authorities may continue."

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