Helicopter crash after arrest of Mexico drug lord kills many

Navy helicopter carrying 15 people during an operation to arrest high-profile cartel leader Rafael Caro Quintero crashes, killing 14 on board.

Soldiers of the Mexican Army work at the site of a Navy helicopter crash near the airport of Los Mochis, Sinaloa State, Mexico
Soldiers at the site of the navy helicopter crash near Los Mochis airport in Mexico's Sinaloa state [Jose Mendoza/AFP]

Fourteen passengers have died in the crash of a navy Blackhawk helicopter in Mexico following the arrest of drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.

Another passenger was receiving medical treatment after the accident in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, a navy statement said on Friday evening.

The available information indicated the helicopter had an “accident” near the coastal city of Los Mochis during the operation, the cause of which had not yet been determined, the statement said.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he regretted the loss and expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased on social media.

In addition, one official was seriously injured. They had all supported the arrest operation.

Caro Quintero, who was behind the killing of US agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985, was captured on Friday by Mexican forces nearly a decade after walking out of a Mexican prison and returning to drug trafficking, according to the Mexican navy.

Caro Quintero was arrested after a search dog named “Max” found him hiding in brush in the town of San Simon in Sinaloa state during a joint operation by the navy and attorney general’s office, a navy statement said.

The site was in the mountains near Sinaloa’s border with the northern border state of Chihuahua.

The brutal murder of Camarena marked a low point in US-Mexico relations.

Lopez Obrador has maintained that he is not interested in detaining drug lords and prefers to avoid violence.

But the arrest came just days after Lopez Obrador met with US President Joe Biden in the White House.

There had been tensions between the Mexican government and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after Mexico enacted a law limiting the US agency’s operations.

But recently, the DEA’s new head in Mexico received a visa, which the US officials marked as a sign of progress in the relationship.

Source: News Agencies