Mexican Cartels Moving Drug Crops Into Oaxaca State

3/16/2017 Associated Press

AP/Dario Lopez-Mill

A Mexican army general said his forces are increasingly coming under fire from drug traffickers protecting opium poppy plantations in Oaxaca state, where opium growers are moving production to take advantage of mountainous terrain and impoverished villages.

Gen. Alfonso Duarte Mujica said Wednesday that army patrols were fired at twice this week as they tried to cut down poppy plantations in western Oaxaca.

On Monday, an army helicopter searching for poppy fields was hit by gunfire from the ground, damaging the fuel tank. The chopper landed safely.

He said a third army patrol was blocked from reaching about 30 poppy fields they could plainly see in the distance, by a demonstration of Indian residents, mostly women and children. Armed with only sticks and machetes, the Triquis stood in front of soldiers and refused to move.

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