Mexico declares all-out war after rising drug cartel downs military helicopter

Mexico has declared an all-out offensive against the relatively new drug cartel which shot down an army helicopter during a weekend of coordinated attacks across the western state of Jalisco which prompted fresh concerns over the latest escalation of the country’s drug wars.

Six soldiers were killed when gunmen from the New Generation Jalisco Cartel used a rocket-propelled grenade to bring down an army helicopter that was pursuing a cartel convoy on Friday, the national security commissioner, Monte Alejandro Rubido, told Televisa.

At least 15 other people were killed and 19 injured in a coordinated show of strength by the cartel which included several shootouts with soldiers and police, and involved hundreds of low-level operatives who set up roadblocks with burning cars, buses and trucks in Jalisco and three neighbouring states. Eleven banks and five petrol stations were also set ablaze.

“The full force of the Mexican state will be felt in the state of Jalisco,” Rubido said on Monday. “Satisfactory results will start to be seen very soon.”

But the cartel’s ability and desire to openly challenge federal forces had not been obvious until its response to Friday’s launch of a federal operation in its Jalisco stronghold, reportedly aimed at capturing or killing the group’s leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho”.

“The government does not have the capacity to attack more than one big group at a time,” said security expert Eduardo Guerrero. “Now it is the turn of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.”

Full article: Mexico declares all-out war after rising drug cartel downs military helicopter (The Guardian)

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