The ultraviolent Jalisco New Generation Cartel is believed to be behind the attack
Several Mexican outlets have released shocking footage that features an alleged cartel-operated drone dropping bombs on Monday on what is said to have been a rival camp.
A video that appears to have been shot from the same unmanned aerial vehicle that was dropping explosives captures a large tent below, moments before it was hit by a bomb. Seconds later, half a dozen inhabitants are seen fleeing for their lives, with the drone raining down more explosives. Some 26 seconds into a second clip, the camera attached to the drone begins violently spinning, leading some to conclude it might have been shot at from the ground.
According to the Mexican edition of the Spanish newspaper El Pais, the unmanned aerial vehicle had been operated by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the tent belonged to a rival camp in the state of Michoacan. Other outlets claim the powerful criminal group had targeted local townspeople who had dared to try to prevent the cartel seizing territory. At least one person reportedly sustained injuries as a result of the bombing, and the attack caught on camera was just one in a series of similar drone raids in the area.
In December, the US Drug Enforcement Administration described the CJNG as "one of Mexico's most violent and prolific drug trafficking organizations, which has been flooding the United States with fentanyl and methamphetamine." It said that "disrupting and destroying this organization" was one of its "highest priorities," and offered a $10,000,000 reward for information that led to the capture of the cartel's boss, Nemesio 'El Mencho' Oseguera Cervantes.
The state of Michoacan has been at the center of a brutal turf war involving numerous criminal groups. However, the CJNG's tactics stand out, as it relies on heavily militarized gangs using improvised armored trucks, heavy machine guns and grenades. In a bid to cow local residents into submission, the group launched a campaign of terror, deploying explosives-laden drones and depositing bodies in front of the governor's office.
Since December, the unchecked violence has forced nearly half of the population, including police officers, in the municipality of Chinicuila to flee. Some of these desperate people have relocated to the neighboring state of Colima, according to Mexican Imagen TV channel. Others crossed into the US, particularly Illinois and California.