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Witnesses: Blackhawk helicopter wiped out 42 members of Jalisco New Generation Cartel

May 27, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Witnesses: Blackhawk helicopter wiped out 42 members of Jalisco New Generation Cartel

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Translated from Mexican media reports.

The gun battle that took place at the El Rancho del Sol on Friday where Federal Police killed 42 alleged members of the CNJG while suffering only one fatality has raised many questions as to what happened.

The stories by Mexican media outlets provided the government’s version of events and the doubts raised by many security experts and Families of some the alleged CNJG members killed in the battle.

The government’s accounts of past clashes with cartels have not always been forthcoming, and reports of excessive force by security forces always have been prevalent in past battles.

However, two witnesses to the “clash” last Friday have come forward to give a detailed account of the gun battle.

The witnesses saw the events unfold on the nearby highway that runs in front of the ranch and on the back perimeter of the ranch. Although they are unable to give full details of the conflict, the witnesses can give clues to what happened.

One of the witnesses is a cattle herder in the small village of Puerto de Vargas consisting of about 100 inhabitants and is only about a kilometer from the ranch gate.

“I was looking around, and I saw the helicopter that brought police, and from there it all ended. The men at the ranch had no opportunity to defend the lot,” the witness told Mexican reporters.

The ranch El Sol borders Puerta de Vargas. One witness explained how the owners who lived at the ranch would sometimes hire villagers and gave them good jobs.

However, that changed two weeks ago after 50 members of the CJNG took control of the land. The New Generation Cartel members warned the villagers not to enter or loiter around the ranch.

“They said they would not kill us, but for us to follow our usual routine, that they would not take our money. But we had to stay silent and not hang around the ranch,” one resident told a reporter.

A man who acts as caretaker and watches the road entrance to Vargas said, “the people who had always worked at the ranch were peaceful people. The group claimed they rented the ranch and said the owner moved to Jalisco.”

The resident believes the cartel members seized the ranch from the former owners.

“They said, you keep working, we are here, but you just keep working, they did not threaten anyone or anything,” the man said.

The mayor of Tanhuato, Jose Ignacio Cuevas Perez, confirmed the claims of the ranch being rented. “For years, the property worked as a producer, packer and marketer of alfalfa,” Perez said.

However, after it all changed after the May 1st attack, when members of CJNG shot down a military helicopter in Jalisco. The elements responsible for bringing down the helicopter took refuge in the Rancho El Sol.

THE OPERATION

At dawn on Friday, May 22, a convoy of federal police came to the village of Puerta de Vargas. The police asked some of the local residents how to enter the Rancho del Sol without using the front gate. The residents of Puerta de Vargas provided the security officers information about the layout of the ranch. The citizen who gave them directions on how to get around to the back side of Ranch turned out to be one of the witnesses who watched the unfolding battle a couple of hours later.

According to the villagers, the police soon surrounded the 112-acre ranch, and the operation began with the arrival of a Blackhawk helicopter.

Blackhawk

The witnesses say the Blackhawk helicopter unleashed continuous bursts of gunfire into the ranch. The security officers entered the field and cleaned up the remaining remnants still alive.

“The pilot raised and leveled the helicopter, then settled back and rrrrr! Buzzed pa’acá pa’allá. The helicopter was the one who killed them all,” says the witness while riding his horse.

With the cover fire from the chopper, the policemen joined the attack from several directions. “The burst of gunfire was continuous, from the helicopter, and from multiple vantage points on the ground. From where I stood, I could only see one narco return fire at the cops.

Villagers hid in their homes during the three-hour gunfight. ”

“I watched everything; you could hear the shooting, from this point I saw the helicopter that brought the cops. The gunfire from the helicopter was fanning killing them all, ” he told the commissioner.

Once the shooting stopped two other helicopters appeared to clean up the mess and transport the police on the ground that had been involved the shoot out.

The mayor questioned the security forces version events given hours after the battle ended and believes it was a response to the attack against police forces.

“The way the arrangement of bodies, some have no clothes, looked like a massacre rather than an operational” Perez sais.,

Federal officials explained the lack of federal police casualties that would usually happen during a shootout of this magnitude. Officials said the CJNG members refused to surrender; some fled on foot in an attempt to escape, which explains the scattered bodies in the fields.

However, security experts and members of the human-rights group say the men more than likely ran because of the gun blasts unleashed by the Blackhawk.

Enrique Galindo, head of Mexico’s federal police confirmed to local media that a helicopter gunship had participated in the shootout and that its role had been decisive. “If the helicopter had not arrived, the death toll might have been different,” Galindo said.

Authorities detained three people and confiscated 38 semi-automatic weapons, two smaller arms, a grenade launcher and a .50-caliber rifle.

Families of some of the men killed on Friday told The Associated Press that after viewing the remains of their loved ones, they doubted the official account. Relatives gathered at a local morgue said one body was missing an eye and had facial bruising, another had its teeth knocked inward. Another had a gunshot in the top of the head.

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