World

Mexican cartels now using IEDs as well as bomb-dropping drones

New reports show that gangs have started using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on roads in the area in order to disable army vehicles in the war between drug cartels in Mexico.

The movement is mainly taking place in the town of Tepalcatepec, which is in the western Michoacan state, and the land mines severely damaged an armored army car last week.

A person speaking on behalf of the movement, which is currently battling the Jalisco cartel, revealed photos showing a damaged army light armored vehicle on a road that had been destroyed. He said the damage had been caused by an IED.

The spokesperson, who did not want to give out his name, said the explosion had happened on Saturday in the town of Taixtan, where local residents have been fighting Jalisco gunmen for several months.

The gangs have often used homemade armored cars as well as drones that are modified to drop smaller bombs. But this event would not be the first time IEDs have been used successfully by Mexican cartels.

While the Mexican army did not respond to request for comment on the IEDs, the Defense Department did note that army patrols had been attacked four times on Saturday with explosives, although they did not identify the type of explosives. The agency added that homemade armored cars as well as gunfire that wounded 10 troops were included in the attack.

Juan Ibarrola, who is a security analyst specializing in the military, said “the worrisome thing is the improvisation that [criminal groups] are doing with engineering, to create weapons, boobytraps, explosives and so on.”

Ibarrola added that rather than attempting to fight a war with the army, which they would likely lose, they are using the IEDs and other devices to “threaten and take on rival groups.”  

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: VOA NEWS

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