EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican security forces have arrested alleged gang members, and seized drugs, guns and grenades in the wake of an explosive drone attack in the farming community of La Ruana, Michoacan.
The explosion, purportedly captured on cellphone video, occurred a short distance away from where the brother of a slain leader of an armed self-defense group (autodefensas) was speaking at a public event on Sunday. A day earlier, the same group had rung church bells calling on residents to take up arms against criminal drug gangs.
No one was hurt Sunday, as the explosive only tore a hole in a metallic roof, but the event mobilized National Guard troops and Michoacan state police.
The state police on Monday reported seizing 900 bags of marijuana in La Ruana, as well as arresting three alleged gang members in possession of rifles and ammunition.
In addition, “on the outskirts of La Ruana, approximately 6 to 7 kilometers northwest, we found a synthetic drugs lab with chemical precursors and three (distillation apparatuses),” an unnamed state police official said on social media. He said a temporary combined federal-state law enforcement base would be established in the region southwest of Apatzingan.
On Tuesday, police and the National Guard displayed seized ammo, fragmentary grenades and the remote control of a drone.
When asked about the incident and the increased use of drones by transnational criminal organizations to drop explosives on rival gangs, Mexican Interior Secretary Luisa Maria Alcalde called the attacks “a new reality.”
In a Tuesday morning news conference broadcast on YouTube, Alcalde said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sent the Mexican Congress legislation to regulate the sale of drones and stiffen penalties for drone attacks.
“This is a new reality so it would be good to regulate it so we don’t have these issues,” Alcalde said. “We will listen to the discussion in Congress. It is up to them to have this discussion to address these new realities.”
Earlier this month, grassroots organizations in Guerrero, which borders Michoacan, said a drug cartel had dropped 33 explosive devices from drones in the community of El Caracol. The group attributed the attacks to La Familia Michoacana transnational criminal organization trying to wipe out local drug gangs.