A Cartel Used Armed Drones and a Plane to Bomb Police

The attack by CJNG on a police station in Jalisco, Mexico, killed two officers.
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View of a bullet-riddled wall bearing the initials of the criminal group CJNG in Aguililla, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. Photo by ENRIQUE CASTRO/AFP via Getty Images.

Members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel used a small airplane and several explosive drones to attack a local police station in a small town in the state of Jalisco this weekend, killing two municipal officers. 

The cartel used a Cessna airplane to fire on the policemen, who shot back and managed to kill two cartel members on board, according to local news reports. During the attack on Nov. 26, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) simultaneously used several drones to drop hand-made explosives on the police, as well as at least a dozen men in pick-up trucks on the ground who fired on the police station. 

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A video shared on social media shows a small airplane flying over the town’s skies while heavy fire is heard from afar. The gunfight left two cartel members dead, according to the authorities, as well as the police officers. 

The gunfight happened in the small town of Encarnación de Díaz, Jalisco, in a mountainous region bordering the state of Aguascalientes. Since at least 2018, the CJNG has been fighting the Sinaloa Cartel for the control of the area, which is a route used for transporting drugs from Mexico’s southern border to the U.S.

Hours after the fight, cartel members used buses and pick-up trucks to block several of the main streets of the town to stop the arrival of the Mexican Army and National Guard, according to news reports

Jalisco State Governor Enrique Alfaro confirmed the attack and said that the cartel was trying to to terrorize the town. “Today the criminals tried to generate fear and to cow our local authorities, but they hit a wall…” he wrote on Twitter

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The CJNG has used explosive drones to launch attacks on authorities and rivals since at least 2020. Last year, news reports flagged a drone attack against another local police station in the state of Michoacán, which injured two cops. 

The drones that organized crime groups use in Mexico are commercially available and charged with hand-made explosives like Tovex or C4, according to recent investigations

This appears to be the first time a cartel uses an airplane to attack authorities. A similar plane was recently used in the state of Jalisco to drop thousands of printed flyers threatening the Sinaloa Cartel. 

Jalisco, and two other bordering states Zacatecas and Aguascalientes, are at the center of the war between these two criminal organizations that has killed hundreds and displaced thousands.