Special units of Mexican army troops with bomb suits and metal detectors were deployed in the western state Michoacan to assist drug cartels planting landmines and improvised explosives.
According to reports, the squads found many such devices in rural areas and on fields around Aguililla.
Last week was the first victim of mines, when a farmer hit one with his pickup truck. His son was also injured in the blast. The device that contained ammonium nitrate was believed to have fueled the explosion.
However, the mines discovered so far also include devices that are detonated via radio or telephone signal, pressure (as when someone steps on them), or vials that combine two chemicals.
A soldier showed how he approached suspicious areas of disturbed soil along a dirt road in the region on Friday before signaling and calling another soldier in a bomb suit.
On February 8, Mexican army troops entered Aguililla, an area long controlled by the Jalisco cartel.
Just a few days earlier, an army vehicle was damaged by an improvised explosion device (or IED) that had been placed on a roadway. Ten soldiers were also injured by the mine and other weapons. This was the first successful use of IEDs against an enemy military target in Mexico.
For years, the Jalisco cartel has been fighting for the control of the area against the local Viagras gang (also known as United Cartels).
Drug cartels love Michoacan state for its seaport, smuggling routes and the chance to extort money form the state’s lime growers and avocado farmers.
Many believe that the fight has been so intense around Naranjo de Chila, a hardscrabble hamlet, because it is home to Nemesio “El Mencho”, Oseguera, the leader of Jalisco’s cartel.
Already, the cartels have used pillboxes and homemade armored cars, as well as drones that can drop small bombs to fight for control over Michoacan.
The most insidious weapon is the primitive, buried pipe bomb style explosives.
Actually, the terror caused by Michoacan’s bomb-carrying drones has been greater than that of the land mines. Drone warfare was initially difficult and dangerous to load and operate, and is still worrisomely indiscriminate. However, drone warfare has improved and metal barns and shed roofs are now open like tin cans after drone explosions.