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Cartel gunmen shoot down police helicopter in strife-ridden state of Michoacan, Mexico

September 7, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Cartel gunmen shoot down police helicopter in strife-ridden state of Michoacan, Mexico

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Authorities in Mexico say a state police helicopter providing air support for a security operation was shot down in the municipality of Apatzingan located in the strife-ridden Western State of Michoacan, killing five people.

According to Proceso, suspected members of a criminal cell brought down the helicopter during a shootout with federal and state police officers with a high-powered Barret .50 Caliber rifle.

In a statement released on Twitter, Silvano Aureoles, the governor of the state, confirmed reports of the shoot down of the helicopter, killing the pilot along with three officers on board. Another police officer remains in critical condition.

Aureoles said the aircraft provided air support for security forces during an operation to capture drug cartel leaders operating in an area difficult to reach by land.

“A helicopter supporting a police patrol in an area difficult to access by land was shot down by suspected members of a criminal cell killing five officers on board near the southwestern town of Apatzingan,” Aureoles wrote.

Aureoles later vowed that operations by federal and state authorities would continue to tackle gang violence in the city in a series of emotional Twitter posts.

“In compliance with the responsibility to protect citizens, neither the state nor the federation is going to give up in the struggle against crime,” he said, emphasizing that efforts to catch the suspects are under way.

The event marks the second time organized criminal groups managed to shoot down a government helicopter.

In May 2015, members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel brought down an Army helicopter in response to a military operation in the city of Guadalajara, killing six soldiers on board.

The lawless states of Michoacan and Guererro, both located in the Terra Caliente region of Mexico, have the highest rates of violence and are quickly usurping the Golden Triangle as the epicenter of the Mexican drug trade.

Various drug cartels remain enthralled in brutal turf wars for control of territories in Michoacan.

The state’s climate, lengthy coastline, remote mountainous terrain, along with its vital transit routes to large population centers, make Michoacan a crucial hub for the cultivation, production, importing, and trafficking of illicit drugs such as marijuana, opium poppies, and methamphetamine.

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