Border Crisis

Cartel Gunmen Shoot Down Mexican Army Helicopter During Clash

Cartel gunmen used high-powered rifles to shoot down a Mexican Army helicopter this weekend. The shootdown came during a series of shootouts in the cartel-controlled state of Michoacan.

The attack took place over the weekend as a Mexican Army helicopter provided air support to a group of soldiers patrolling the region searching for cartel gunmen. Gunmen from the ground used high-powered rifles to shoot at the helicopter, striking it several times. The attack forced the pilot to make an emergency landing. Unofficial information points to the co-pilot and crewmen sustaining critical injuries from the impact during the landing. Military forces rushed to help the crew and tried to get them medical attention. Mexican authorities have since attempted to downplay the issue.

Cartel gunmen have been using various types of machine guns and .50 caliber rifles in their clashes with authorities. The rifle below was found last week in the area where the shootouts have been taking place.

The shootouts come as cartels have been using land mines and other explosives to kill military forces and rivals as they fight for control of drug production and trafficking routes into Mexico. As Breitbart Texas reported, last week in that same region, cartel gunmen killed four soldiers. They also injured close to a dozen others using landmines and drones to drop explosives on the soldiers.

While it remains unclear which cartel attacked the soldiers, the attack on the helicopter took place near the town of Tepalcatepec. That town is a known stronghold of Jose “El Abuelo” Farias, a drug lord who gained fame in Mexico for masquerading as the founder of a self-defense group. El Abuelo has some government protection from bribery of various public officials and in the past has hired former Colombian terrorists who had taught his gunmen how to develop explosives.

El Abuelo’s Cartel is not the only criminal organization that has experience with explosives. Their bitter rival, Cartel Jalisco New Generation, is currently one of Mexico’s most violent organizations. CJNG has also hired Colombian mercenaries and former military forces to train their gunmen in the use of explosives. CJNG has a long history of using explosives and other bombs in Mexico.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.     



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