The easy conclusion to draw is that Mexico has serious problems with organized crime, as it has for decades. But armed drones are something new, part of what some security experts have called an “arms races between the various belligerent criminal organizations” in Mexico’s multi-decade drug wars.

In this particular case, narco-drones are being deployed in a turf war in and around the city of Tepalcatepec, which sits on the border of the states of Michoacán and Jalisco, about 350 miles west of Mexico City. Local news reports indicate the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, commonly known by its Mexican acronym, CJNG, has launched multiple drone strikes in the area in recent weeks, escalating months of intermittent gunfights and ambushes.

CJNG is one of the most powerful and ambitious cartels in Mexico, and it appears determined to take control of the state of Michoacán. Since 2019, the cartel has been battling a loose confederation of other armed groups collectively known as...

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