Mexican cartel boss 'El Mencho' uses new tactic in war against rivals: bombing by drone

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Local farmers in Tepalcatepec, having heard unexplained explosions in the region, found an armoured cartel car containing drones rigged with bombs

In recent years, farmers in Michoacán have taken up arms to defend themselves against the cartels, with differing results. In some areas the so-called Autodefensas vigilante groups have been credited with successfully combating the drug gangs. In others, the Autodefensas have been accused of being co-opted by the cartels they were designed to fight.

Vigilantes are seen during a patrol at banana plantations in the municipality of Coahuayana, in Michoacan state, Mexico August 22, 2019.In this case, the drones found by the Autodefensas group are said to belong to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is at war with the state as well as the Sinaloa Cartel and another outfit, the upstart Santa Rosa de Lima cartel.

Cartels in Mexico already use .50 calibre machine guns, grenade launchers and other heavy weaponry, and drones have long been used to smuggle drugs into prisons. But drones being used as weapons is a relatively new departure. Reports from Mexico indicate that the CJNG had, in April of this year, turned to small planes to attack its enemies the Tepalcatepec area, but later switched to drones as they were harder to detect.

Forbes reports that three such drones, all believed to be CJNG weapons, were found last year. Bunker told the outlet: “The limiting factor is not so much the availability of military grade explosives—commercial or homemade explosives can be substituted—but the basic technical knowledge necessary to create improvised explosive devices or IEDs.”


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