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Mexican cartels step up deadly drug war using drones

Four suspected gang members have been arrested in Mexico after they were found carrying a kamikaze drone equipped with deadly explosives, police say.

The chief prosecutor in Guanajuato state says federal police caught the four men in a car near Salamanca, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, late last week.

Police arrested suspects named as Christian Eduardo, 31, Angel, 31, Eduardo, 25, and Marcos Francisco, 39, who are also accused of possessing an AK-47 machine gun.

Drones have been used to transport drugs over the Mexican border into the United States, but this is believed to be the first time a ‘weaponized’ drone has been found in Mexico. 

Mexican police found four suspected gang members in a car carrying a kamikaze drone (pictured above) equipped with deadly explosives

Mexican police found four suspected gang members in a car carrying a kamikaze drone (pictured above) equipped with deadly explosives

Mexican police found four suspected gang members in a car carrying a kamikaze drone (pictured above) equipped with deadly explosives

Police arrested four men, who are believed to be part of a 'crime cell'

Police arrested four men, who are believed to be part of a 'crime cell'

Officials would not elaborate as to which cartel or gang the men are part of

Officials would not elaborate as to which cartel or gang the men are part of

Police arrested four men, who are believed to be part of a ‘crime cell’. Officials would not elaborate as to which cartel or gang the men are part of

Police found the men in a car near Salamanca, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, late last week

Police found the men in a car near Salamanca, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, late last week

Prosecutor Carlos Zamarripa said the drone, a small remote-controlled, 3Dr Solo Quadcopter, had 'a big explosive charge'. The drone retails for about $250 online

Prosecutor Carlos Zamarripa said the drone, a small remote-controlled, 3Dr Solo Quadcopter, had 'a big explosive charge'. The drone retails for about $250 online

Police found the men in a car near Salamanca, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, late last week. Prosecutor Carlos Zamarripa said the drone, a small remote-controlled, 3Dr Solo Quadcopter, had ‘a big explosive charge’. The drone retails for about $250 online

Prosecutor Carlos Zamarripa said the drone, a small remote-controlled, 3Dr Solo Quadcopter, had ‘a big explosive charge’. The drone retails for about $250 online.

They also had a remote control detonator in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. It was unclear where the men planned to detonate the drone.

Zamarripa said the men belonged to a ‘crime cell’, but refused to say which drug gang or cartel.

The Mexican authorities are currently trying to crack down on crime in Guanajuato.

The state had been considered as one of the most peaceful in Mexico but there has recently been a wave of violence there from gangs that specialize in fuel thefts from government pipelines and train robberies.

Rival gangs are currently fighting for control over the city of Celaya, the third largest in the state.

Also in the vehicle was an AK-47. The men also had a remote control detonator in the vehicle at the time of the arrest

Also in the vehicle was an AK-47. The men also had a remote control detonator in the vehicle at the time of the arrest

Also in the vehicle was an AK-47. The men also had a remote control detonator in the vehicle at the time of the arrest

The Mexican authorities are currently trying to crack down on crime in Guanajuato, where the men were arrested

The Mexican authorities are currently trying to crack down on crime in Guanajuato, where the men were arrested

The Mexican authorities are currently trying to crack down on crime in Guanajuato, where the men were arrested

The Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels all want to seize the region, which is of strategic importance for the drug trade.

Zamarripa said that the explosive and weapon are both ‘common weapons for the army’.

Mexican police are used to drug traffickers using explosives but have never seen them attached to a drone before. 

American security experts have warned Congress that they fear drones carrying explosives could become more common.

‘A weaponized drone/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/unmanned aerial system (UAS) with a remotely detonated IED allows for a precision strike to take place against an intended target,’ Robert Bunker and John P. Sullivan, wrote in Small Wars Journal.

It is believed that terrorist groups such as ISIS have previously used drones in a similar manner.


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