Mexican soldiers find factory producing drone bombs, grenade launchers, fake military uniforms

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Police and soldiers in Mexico have discovered a small factory used to make drone bombs, grenade launchers and fake military uniforms in a region where the Jalisco cartel and gangs have been waging turf wars. 

The facility, found late Wednesday by police and soldiers in the town of La Huacana in the western Michoacan state, had a computer-controlled lathe and milling machine, suggesting the operators had considerable metalworking knowledge, according to The Associated Press. 

Authorities said the factory produced bombs usually dropped by drones, as well as under-barrel, 40mm grenade launchers designed to be attached to assault rifles. 

The Jalisco cartel and local gangs have been fighting in Michoacan for years, the AP reports.  

DEADLY CARTEL ATTACK STRIKES REMOTE MEXICAN VILLAGE 

Mexico authorities in Michoacan state

Members of the Civil Guard escort a truck carrying lemons on the Apatzingan-Nueva Italia highway section of Mexico’s Michoacan state on Sept. 20, 2023. In this agricultural municipality, as in many others in Mexico, criminals impose quotas on producers and intermediaries that impact the pockets of millions of consumers. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images)

The warring gangs frequently use bomb-dropping drones, improvised explosive devices buried in roadways, .50 caliber sniper rifles, homemade armored vehicles and grenades. They also often establish checkpoints on highways and wear fake military uniforms. 

The U.S. State Department advises Americans not to travel to the Michoacan state due to crime and kidnapping. 

“Crime and violence are widespread in Michoacan state,” it said in a travel advisory last year. “U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been victims of kidnapping.” 

BRIDE ARRESTED FOR EXTORTION SCHEME IN MEXICO, HANDCUFFED IN HER WEDDING DRESS, PROSECUTORS SAY 

Mexico military uniforms being made

Uniforms for members of the Mexican army are seen being produced in Mexico City in June 2021. (Carlos Tischler / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Last week, an alleged cartel drone attack in a remote community in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero — which borders Michoacan state — killed five people, prosecutors said. 

“Authorities found charred bone remains corresponding to 5 people from a burned vehicle,” the Guerrero state prosecutor’s office said in a statement. 

The attack is believed to have involved drones operated by cartel members, as well as gunmen, according to the religious and human rights organization Minerva Bello Center. 

Mexico soldiers at checkpoint

Soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on a highway in Contepec in Mexico’s Michoacan state in July 2015. (Reuters/Alan Ortega)

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Prosecutors attributed the attack to a “confrontation” between warring criminal groups La Familia Michoacana and Los Tlacos, “who maintain a dispute for control of the area.” 

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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