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Mexican Army: explosive drone attacks in at least 3 states

April 21, 2021  By Mark Stevenson, The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s defence secretary said Wednesday that drug cartels have attacked police or soldiers with explosive-laden drones in at least three states.

Defence Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said the Jalisco New Generation cartel was behind some of the attacks. He said explosive drones had been used in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato and Michoacan.

He said the drone attacks were “worrisome” but not as effective as the cartels might desire because the relative light devices cannot carry enough explosives to do significant damage. He said a drone attack this week in Michoacan wounded two police, one in the arm and one in the leg.

State police said Tuesday that the two officers have been treated and released from a hospital.


Authorities have not described the devices in detail; local media reported the drones carried hand grenades, but photos have circulated of drones carrying taped packs of explosive charges.

This week’s attack occurred in El Aguaje, a hamlet in the Aguililla township in Michoacan. There, the Jalisco New Generation cartel is battling for control with he rival New Michoacan Family, which is also known as the Viagras or United Cartels.

While Sandoval said a suspect accused of operating the drone has been detained, the situation in Aguililla has clearly gotten out of control.

State police and soldiers were sent in to restore order earlier this month; the cartels responded by parking hijacked trucks across roads to block them. Cartels, and some residents, have also adopted techniques like digging deep trenches across roadways to keep rivals or police convoys out.

Perhaps more worrisome for the army was the fact that residents in Aguililla have also organized protests at a local military base.

“A few days ago, we had some situations where residents came to the base… and demanded the troops leave,” Sandoval said. “In order not to get in a confrontation, they initially left the base, and we returned the next day.”

Some officials have described the protesters as paid lookouts for the cartels. Others say they are simply residents asking for more security; the town of Aguililla had been cut off for weeks from the outside world by roadblocks, trenches and blockades, making life difficult for inhabitants.

The Jalisco cartel is also fighting turf wars in Guanajuato and its home state of Jalisco. The cartel has been known for brazenly attacking law enforcement forces in the past. In October 2019, Jalisco cartel gunmen ambushed and killed 14 state police officers in El Aguaje.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2021


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