MEXICO’S deadliest drug cartel is using drones laden with explosives to attack police in a new turf war.
The Jalisco New Generation cartel has already injured two cops with the weapons, it is thought.
The £13billion drug empire is trying to oust newer rivals the New Michoacán Family.
Defence secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval insisted the drones could only carry light explosives due to technical limitations, meaning they are less effective.
Officials have long warned of drone threats but Tuesday’s attack is the first drone strike to cause injury.
The officers were trying to clear roads leading to Aguililla, in Michoacán, central Mexico, which the cartel had blocked.
Local media reported the drones are filled with grenades – but pictures show them carrying taped packs of explosives.
The cartel led by Nemesio ‘El Mencho’ Oseguera Cervantes has seized power across almost the whole of Mexico.
Two drones with plastic explosives and ball bearings were found in a car boot in Michoacán last August, which experts said could have been deadly if set off.
It is thought the latest attack was set up in a similar way.
The gang has built trenches in the road to block rivals and stop police and soldiers from intervening.
It has also used small planes to drop bombs on its enemies and there have been reports of drones carrying drugs over the US-Mexico border.
Who are the CJNG?
The CJNG have marked themselves out as being extraordinarily violent even by the standards of Mexico’s bloodsoaked narco wars.
They have turned on their former masters the Sinaloa cartel, seizing territory and buying off thousands of corrupt police.
They are now thought to have interests from China to North Africa to eastern Europe and now South America, where they have displaced Sinaloa.
The speed of its ascent shows how quickly power can shift in Mexico’s multi-billion-dollar drugs trade.
They predominantly deal in amphetamines rather than shipping cocaine from South America,.
Not only are the profit margins higher but according to one DEA analyst, has helped to shape their savage way of operating.
“The problem with meth guys is that they’re unhinged.”
“They didn’t have to wine and dine Bolivian suppliers, or fly to South America to do international negotiations.
“They’re not sophisticated. They’re very rough.”
Jalisco New Generation, which emerged in 2009, is quickly becoming the most powerful drug cartel since El Chapo, 64, was sentence to life last year in the US.
Estimates say it controls about a third of the drugs moving through Mexico.
And former Drug Enforcement Agency chief Mike Vigil chief told The Sun that the cartel is even deadlier than El Chapo and may never be captured.
He said: “I would describe El Mencho as hyper-violent and extremely cunning but not ostentatious like most drug traffickers.
“Make no mistake about it El Mencho is deadlier than a rattlesnake – and totally more deadly than El Chapo.”
The cartel has ripped out victims’ hearts, dissolved their bodies in barrels of acid and targeted pregnant women.
The beheaded corpses of their rivals have been hanged off bridges as a warning.
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Among its ranks are glamorous women killers like La Catrina, real name Maria Guadalupe Lopez Esquivel, who died in a shootout with cops and soldiers in Tepalcatepec..
Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen had opened fire on authorities for dismantling one of the group’s roadblocks.
The gang is also thought to be behind a 3.5 ton haul of weed in Chile, transported in ceramics from Manzanillo in southwest of Guadalajara, Mexico.