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The helicopter crashed near the Los Mochis International Airport in northern Sinaloa. The helicopter crashed near the Los Mochis International Airport in northern Sinaloa. File photo

Deadly helicopter crash after druglord’s capture caused by lack of fuel, feds report

There was no external attack, the Attorney General's Office said

A lack of fuel has been established as the cause of a navy helicopter crash in which 14 marines were killed in Sinaloa in July.

The Black Hawk helicopter plummeted to the ground in Los Mochis after supporting the operation to capture drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero on July 15.

The federal Attorney General’s Office said in a statement Thursday that the manufacturer of the helicopter’s black box analyzed it and determined that the cause of the accident was insufficient fuel. It said that an investigation established that there was no “external attack” or any kind of explosion. In addition to the 14 fatalities, one marine was seriously injured in the accident.

Accidents involving military aircraft are fairly common in Mexico. Ninety-four military personnel died in 39 crashes between 2001 and 2021, according to federal aviation authorities.

After the July 15 crash, the navy said there was no information that indicated that the accident was related to the arrest of Caro Quintero, founder of the now-defunct Guadalajara Cartel and the convicted murderer of United States DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

The 69-year-old trafficker was captured by marines and federal agents in the Sinaloa municipality of Choix, which adjoins Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

Caro Quintero spent 28 years in jail for the 1985 murder of Camarena before his 40-year sentence was cut short in 2013 after it was ruled that he was improperly tried in a federal court when the case should have been heard at the state level.

With reports from El País

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