Gunmen attacked a drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico killing at least 24 people and leaving seven wounded Wednesday, local authorities said.

According to preliminary information, the attackers "entered the scene, forced (the victims) on to the ground and shot them," said Pedro Cortes, secretary of public security in the town of Irapuato.

"We have reports that the (armed) subjects arrived in a red vehicle, no further information is known. The preliminary report we have is of 24 dead people and seven injured," he added.

Authorities are working on locating the vehicle, Cortes said.

Irapuato is located northwest of Mexico City in Guanajuato, a state plagued by organized crime and violence, which is also home to industry and a number of major auto manufacturing plants.

This, combined with the state's significant energy sector, have attracted groups such as the powerful Jalisco New Generation and Santa Rosa de Lima drug cartels, which are also involved in extortion, kidnapping and fuel theft.

On June 21 Mexican authorities announced the arrest of 26 alleged members of Santa Rosa de Lima after burning vehicles were used as blockades in the cities of Celaya, Salamanca and Villagran.

Following the violent episode President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that his government would not allow the country "to fall into anarchy and disorder."

Just days before, six members of a family, including a minor, were reported murdered in Celaya.

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