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Federal helicopter crashes in Mexico, injuring three

AFP | Last Updated: Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 09:14

Apatzingan: A helicopter operated by Mexico`s prosecutor has crashed, wounding three of five passengers, when it hit a cable over a mountain community in the troubled Michoacan region.

Two federal agents and a mechanic "suffered injuries and bruises on their bodies," while the pilot and artillery captain were unharmed, the prosecutor`s office said in a statement yesterday.

A spokesman for the prosecutor had earlier said the cable was erected by "criminals" to avoid air raids hunting for drug plantations and other cartel activities.

The helicopter, a Bell UH-1H, was one of 10 deployed to the region earlier this week as part of a bid to wrest back control of Michoacan from the Knights Templar gang.

Federal security forces have also clashed with vigilantes, who took up arms against the Knights Templar starting in February 2013, accusing local police of colluding with gangs or unable to deal with the violence and extortion rackets.

Officials have alleged that at least some civilian militias were backed by a cartel, with critics noting that they used unlawful assault rifles that gangs usually own.

The Tierra Caliente area where the helicopter went down has become a battlefield in recent weeks for disputes between the Knights Templar and the paramilitary vigilantes.

The Knights Templar is considered the dominant cartel in the state, where it controls large areas of marijuana and poppy cultivation and hidden labs for synthetic drugs trafficked to the United States.

First Published: Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 09:14

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