Juan Francisco Patrón Sánchez was one of twelve alleged drug cartel members shot dead during a marine operation massacre in Nayarit state, Mexico on Thursday.
Gunfire rained down on the house where Sánchez, the alleged regional leader of the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel, was cornered by a helicopter-mounted machine gun. It was captured by observers in footage published to YouTube.
The federal interior department said via Twitter that Juan Francisco Patrón Sánchez – the drug lord better known by his criminal name, ‘H2’ – headed the cartel’s operations across two Mexican states, reports the Guardian.
According to an unnamed navy official, Patrón and seven of his accomplices barricaded themselves in a residence in Tepic before opening fire on the pursuing marines.
The official explained ‘dissuasive fire’ – which ended up causing eight fatalities – from the helicopter ‘minigun’ had been issued in response.
The helicopter gunship was legally used according to the Mexican armed forces’ rules of engagement, ‘with the aim of reducing the level of aggression and reducing the risk of civilian or federal casualties’.
Sánchez was thought to be a heavyweight drug lord who allegedly ran the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel operation in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit and in the southern part of Jalisco state.
Sánchez was involved in the ambush of a group of gunmen linked to infamous drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman which left over two dozen rival gang members dead.
Although grenades were found at the scene, no civilian casualties were reported. With his death, the Mexican government has now killed or arrested 107 cartel leaders in the past four years.