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Mexican drug cartel retaliates violently to anti-crime government effort

By
Andrew V. Pestano

GUADALAJARA, Mexico, May 3 (UPI) -- A dangerous drug cartel in the Mexican state of Jalisco has been named responsible for a recent rise in violent crime, including the shooting of a military helicopter.

The Jalisco New Generation drug cartel is believed to be behind the helicopter attack and other violence. On Friday, a military helicopter ordered a convoy of armed gunmen to stop on a highway. The gunmen responded by opening fire on the helicopter.

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The tail rotor was damaged, causing the aircraft to crash land. Three soldiers were killed, 12 people were injured and three were designated as missing.

On Saturday, two cars and a business were burned in the city of Puerto Vallarta.

Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido acknowledged the attack on the helicopter, as well as a rise in overall violence, attributed in part to retaliation by organized crime to the Mexican government's Operation Jalisco, which began Friday and is aimed at detaining cartel leaders.

Jalisco New Generation is considered one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico. It traffics drugs along the Pacific Coast on a large scale. In retaliation to the government's anti-cartel efforts, about 36 vehicles, 11 bank branches and five gas stations were burned.

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About seven people, civilian and military, died in the violence. Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval issued an alert for the state.

The Secretariat of the Interior issued a statement saying, "The institutions represented here reaffirm their commitment to the people and reaffirm their commitment to use all the capabilities of the Mexican state favoring the use of intelligence so this criminal group is dismantled and its members neutralized as has happened with other organized crime groups."

About 25 municipalities were affected by the violence, four shootouts between gunmen and officials occurred and 19 suspects were detained. Authorities remain on alert throughout the state, especially in Guadalajara, the state's capital.

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