It all happened in Buenavista de los Hurtado, part of the municipality of Heliodoro Castillo, Mexican state of Guerrero. This small town was the scene yesterday of an attack with characteristics of guerrilla warfare: drug traffickers used explosive drones. The balance of the incident is still uncertain.

A group of hitmen known as “La Familia Michoacana,” a historic crime faction, attacked their rivals Los Taclos with a wide arsenal. Assault rifles, grenades and unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with explosives. The prolonged armed confrontation has caused numerous victims yet to be counted. A crude video was released on Saturday, showing bodies piled up in a damaged van. Then another video with the captured weapons loaded on the back of a horse. There was everything, confirming the increasingly militarized team of criminals in Mexico.

The first reconstruction provided by priest Filiberto Vázquez, head of a human rights association, counted around 30 dead, possibly including civilians unrelated to the dispute between the two drug gangs. Official sources, on the other hand, have reported five deaths and numerous injuries. However, there are charred remains that cannot be identified at this time, and several people have also been reported missing in the area. A constant in this conflict, with tens of thousands missing. Additionally, several families in the town have fled to avoid being trapped in the battle.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, relatives and residents of that community “refused to file a formal complaint or undergo genetic tests to identify the victims or generate lines of investigation,” such is the prevailing fear of these armed groups. Even so, they opened an ex officio investigation.

The Prosecutor’s Office also indicated that no information was obtained regarding injured, missing or deprived of their liberty that would serve to establish the commission of any other crime.

The Efe agency publishes that at least five human skulls, several charred bodies, six injured people and several missing people have been found in Heliodoro Castillo. According to the version that the inhabitants of this town told Velázquez Florencio, the attacks by La Familia Michoacana began at noon on Thursday with drones loaded with explosives. Subsequently, a group of 30 people were shot with firearms.

La Familia Michoacana was founded in the 1980s, when a group of clandestine vigilantes dedicated themselves to combating drug trafficking in the State of Michoacán. In the 1990s, the organization allied with the Gulf Cartel to expel the Valencia Family. Due to an internal confrontation, La Familia Michoacana was expelled almost entirely from Michoacán and retreated to the region between the State of Mexico and Guerrero, which is where it operates these days. One of the big businesses of this group is the production of large quantities of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories in Michoacán, in tough competition with the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel since 2019, another of the giants of synthetic drugs in Mexico.

Drone attacks in that area of ​​the Sierra have been recorded since August 2023 as part of La Familia Michoacana’s attempts to invade that territory in which, according to the Mexican Government, El Cartel de la Sierra operates. Armed groups in Mexico have been using these devices for some time, copying tactics seen first in the Middle East and then, more widely, in the Ukraine war. They are devices purchased on the civilian market, often of Chinese origin, modified to carry explosive charges and launch or detonate them upon hitting the target.

Initially, they appeared in selective assassination attempts against rivals and security elements. In a second phase, the criminals adopted them in real confrontations against their rivals, just as they are used in conflicts: the objective is to hit them from a distance, surprise them in their territory without any of their own militiamen being in danger.

The criminal violence of drug traffickers has not given a truce in the State of Guerrero so far in 2024. In this first week, murders have been recorded in Acapulco, Iguala and in the capital, Chilpancingo. Some 200 federal soldiers have taken over the area, in anticipation of possible revenge.

The cycle of violence continues.