Dramatic video shows Mexican helicopter gunship opening fire on cartel leader in Tepic city!
A chief figure of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel was targeted in a raid by Mexican marines late last week who stormed his heavily fortified compound in the city of Tepic after a helicopter gunship shredded the building with high-calibre minigun fire.
The Federal Interior Department released a statement on Twitter at the weekend that Juan Francisco Patron Sanches, who ran cartel operations in the Pacific-coast state of Nayarit, had been killed in the attack.
A Mexican navy official told AP that Patron and his accomplices had barricaded themselves in the upper floors of the building before opening fire on forces attempting to raid the property.
The helicopter was called in to provide ‘dissuasive fire’.
The use of such a high-powered weapon in an urban environment has been met with protest among Mexican media.
Tepic helicopter attack
But the Mexican navy says its use of the helicopter gunship ‘with the aim of reducing the level of aggression and reducing the risk of civilian or federal casualties’ was within its rules of engagement.
Dramatic footage of the night-time attack has since been distributed by Mexican media.
It appears to show the low-flying helicopter sweeping the scene with its spotlight before pouring gunfire into the Lindavista suburb building.
The governor of Nayarit state praised the armed forces’ “surgical” precision in the gunbattle, and said there had been no civilian casualties. He called the gunbattle “proof that Nayarit is, and will remain, at peace.”
“Yesterday’s events were done to protect and safeguard the citizenry,” Sandoval said. “We had zero civilian losses.”
Members of the same cartel launched their own attack later that day, firing on federal forces at the nearby Tepic airport. Four more cartel members were killed in that attack, Mexican authorities say.
|A bullet ridden sports utility vehicle is taken away by authorities after a gun battle between marines and cartel members in Tepic, Nayarit state, Mexico. Picture: AP|