Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Future Is Here Already, It's Just Not Evenly Distributed


Forbes  |  Mexican drug cartels are using weaponized consumer drones in their latest gang war, according to reports in El Universal and other local news media

A citizens’ militia group in Tepalcatepec, Michoacán, formed to protect farmers from the cartel, found two drones in a car used by gunmen belonging to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), a group estimated to control a third of the drugs consumed in the U.S. The drones had plastic containers taped to them filled with C4 explosive and ball bearing shrapnel. The militias say that they have heard explosions, and believe that the drones are the latest weapons an ongoing gang war. 

“The CJNG has been involved with such devices since late 2017 in various regions of Mexico,” says analyst Dr. Robert J. Bunker, Director of Research and Analysis at C/O Futures, LLC. “This cartel is well on its way to institutionalizing the use of weaponized drones. None of the other cartels appear to presently even be experimenting with the weaponization of these devices.”

In 2017, Bunker reported on the arrest of four CJNG members with a drone carrying a ‘papa bomba’ (potato bomb) , an improvised hand grenade. In 2018 an armed drone attacked the residence of a senior official in Baja, California. The official was not at home, and the attack seems to have been intended as a warning. Three CNJG drones with explosive were recovered this year , part of an arsenal for use against the rival Rosa de Lima cartel.

Bunker says that suitable consumer drones are now easy to acquire and use, but that the challenge is weaponizing them.

“The limiting factor is not so much the availability of military grade explosives—commercial or homemade explosives can be substituted—but the basic technical knowledge necessary to create improvised explosive devices or IEDs,” says Bunker.