According to CBS reports, the Mexican army says drug cartels have launched more than 260 bomb-dropping drone attacks this year. “However, even that number may be an underestimate: residents in some parts of the western state of Michoacan say that attacks by bomb-dropping drones are a near-daily occurrence,” said the news service.
The number of fatalities as a result of these attacks are not yet in the public domain but the Mexican army reports that 42 soldiers, police and suspects have been wounded by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), many dropped by drone.
Yahoo News recently reported that Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), one of Mexico’s most violent cartels, has created its own elite unit of drone operators, specialised in converting commercial drones into bomb-carrying UAVs for use against rival cartels and Mexican authorities.
“We began training as a group in 2021, but only this year we started operating,” a Jalisco Cartel New Generation member of the Operadores Droneros (Drone Operators), was quoted as saying.
According to the report: “The group is mostly dedicated to finding and attacking rival cartels like Los Viagras, Knights Templar in Michoacán, and the Sinaloa Cartel in Jalisco, the cartel operator said…The group is allegedly composed of a dozen men and currently operates only in Michoacán and Jalisco states, according to the cartel operator.”
Another area of increased cartel drone activity is in the use of drones to reconnoiter US border guard movements and the transport of drugs.
According to the testimony of Urbino “Benny” Martinez Brooks County Sheriff, Falfurrias Texas, at the Joint Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, earlier this year:
“In the past 31 days of 2023, there have been 1,937 Mexican Cartel drone’s incursions in three South Texas border counties. The Falfurrias Border Patrol was using two Aerostats that flew just south of Falfurrias, and that were providing great situational awareness of foot and vehicle traffic. The funding for the Aerostat program (which included 14 Aerostats) was recently removed against Border Patrols requests.”
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(Image: Shutterstock -Mexican army soldiers in Chiapas, Mexico)