Mexican Drug Cartel Is Dropping Bombs On Cops With A Drone
A drug cartel in Mexico that has been using drones equipped with explosives caused injuries for the first time last week during an attack at a local police headquarters.
Two officers were hurt when the drone targeted the building close to the town of Aguililla, an entryway to an area known as the Tierra Caliente, where organised crime is engaged in a turf war for control over trafficking routes and extortion rackets.
Local media reports said Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG, per its Spanish acronym) was responsible for the attack, but a CJNG source in the Aguililla region told Vice the group was not responsible. The source reportedly accused rivals of using the drones, claiming they wanted to ‘heat up the plaza’ and attract the police.
Though two officers were injured, Mexico’s Defense Minister, Luis Cresencio Sandoval González, has said that attacks ‘are not worrisome’.
He said one person had been arrested in relation to the attack, but claimed the drones had ‘not been as effective’ as the drug cartel wanted, as the machines cannot carry ‘damaging’ quantities of explosives.
However, Romain Le Cour, from research body Noria Mexico and Central America, has investigated the power dynamics in Tierra Caliente and suggested González’s response ‘has to do with an evident political discourse’.
Le Cour suggested the government may actually be trying to play down the significance of the attacks, adding: ‘I imagine that the Ministry of Defense cannot say that it is overwhelmed by [the attacks].’
The two leading organised crime gangs in the Tierra Caliente, the Carteles Unidos (United Cartels) and the CJNG, are said to be embroiled in an arms race as they want more drones, both to monitor their turf and turn them into weapons.
Le Cour noted that organised crime groups ‘now have more innovative ways to exert violence’ as the use of drones is becoming more common.
A report by Small Wars Journal noted four previous incidents involving drones fitted with explosives during Mexico’s drug wars, three of which have been linked to the CJNG, with the authors noting: ‘We may be eventually reaching a tipping point where these systems at some point become institutionalized in CJNG operations.’
The battle in Tierra Caliente is said to have been ongoing since December 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderón launched Mexico’s drug war.
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