How serious is AMLO’s fight against cartels? Soldiers killed in the drug war: 357 with Calderón, 185 with Peña, 68 with AMLO


During the last three federal administrations, 610 members of the National Defense Secretariat have died in the framework of the fight against drug trafficking. Most soldiers died in armed attacks but were also executed, in car accidents or plane mishaps. Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero and Sonora, the deadliest states for military elements. 

For three six-year terms, at least 610 soldiers belonging to the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) in Mexico, have died in the line of duty in the fight against crime, according to statistics of the armed institute, obtained through the Transparency area and covering the period from December 1, 2006, to the last day of April 2022.

According to the list of deceased personnel, it is established that not in all cases the elements were killed by criminals in armed attacks, although their deaths occurred during the application of the Permanent Campaign against Drug Trafficking and the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives, military programs that retain their original names in recent decades.

As for the period of Government in which they found death when fulfilling the orders of the commanders, 357 of the deaths occurred during the Presidential administration of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, between December 1, 2006, and November 30, 2012; 185 militia agents fell in the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, from December 1, 2012, to November 30, 2018; and there are 68 under the mandate of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Of the deceased soldiers, 565 performed functions in the Mexican Army, while 45 were assigned to the Mexican Air Force (FAM). The data indicates that 310 soldiers from various arms and services died from firearm attacks in shootings, 31 were executed and found after a robbery, and 144 lost their lives in car accidents when they were on patrol or moving to comply with an arrest warrant. operations, 59 perished in air accidents, 16 in accidents due to the handling of firearms, and 16 drowned.

An element of the Sedena remains in position. Illustrative image. Photo: Galo Cañas, Cuartoscuro.

There were other causes of death of members of the Army and FAM when they complied with the instructions of their commanders. Eight of the soldiers were swept away by the current of a river without entering the account of the drowned, eight died from falls, and eight were run over. There were four electrocuted, two died from heat stroke, one dehydrated, another from intoxication, one more from the explosion of a pipe, and the last one from an undetermined cause.

The ten deadliest states -in the last 15 full years and months- for members of the armed institute are: Tamaulipas, with 148 military deaths; Sinaloa, 72; Michoacan, 67; Warrior, 59; New Leon, 36; Sound, 31; Chihuahua, 30; Durango, 27; Jalisco, 26; and Veracruz, 24. In eleventh place, Zacatecas appears, with 19 deceased militia elements, followed by Coahuila (13). With less than two figures, Baja California follows, where nine deaths are reported.

The count indicates that 505 of the deceased public servants belonged to the troops: 268 were soldiers, 158 Corporals, 69 Second Sergeant, and 10 First Sergeant, in addition to a Cadet. Another 91 were officers: 17 Second Lieutenants, 50 Lieutenants, 19 Second Captain, and five First Captains. With the rank of commanders, 13 lost their lives: three were Majors, six Lieutenant Colonels, and four Colonels, some of them Graduated from the General Staff. No General, in his various grades, died in the line of duty.

Another classification of interest refers to the fact that 317 of the deceased soldiers had their service in the Infantry, 89 in the Cavalry, 10 in the Artillery, 51 were military policemen, 30 in transmission, 25 aviator pilots, 25 in health, and 18 drivers. The list continues with 16 armored personnel, 10 parachute riflemen, four aviation electronics specialists, three air maintenance specialists, three war materials specialists, two cooks, and the rest were clerks, quartermasters, IT, and auto mechanics, blacksmiths. , gardener and carpenter’s assistant.


The largest number of soldiers killed in a single event occurred in aerial tragedies, such as the one recorded on April 18, 2008, when 12 elements of the Sedena who carried out operational actions within the framework of the Permanent Campaign against Drug Trafficking, lost their lives in a Bell 212 helicopter of the Mexican Air Force with 14 seats. The aircraft crashed at the edge of noon over a town near Uruapan, Michoacán, about 100 meters from a rural kindergarten.

In that mishap, eleven of the military elements died in the act, while a soldier with second-degree burns was taken to a hospital, where he later died. The helicopter participated in the so-called Joint Operation Michoacán and had taken off from Zitácuaro to arrive in Uruapan, but apparently, a mechanical failure prevented it, the then-Attorney General’s Office (PGR) would hastily report.

The Sedena indicated that in the area there have been four attacks with explosives, homemade armored vehicles and shootings against Army patrols. Photo: Cuartoscuro

Another misfortune befell the FAM on June 19, 2009, within the so-called “War on Drug Trafficking” led by Felipe Calderón. At 10:40 p.m., near the town of San Miguel, municipality of Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango, a Bell 412 helicopter that was transporting military personnel from Badiraguato, Sinaloa crashed to the ground, killing eleven members of the Mexican Army.

A Sedena statement referred to the event: “Unfortunately in this accident, a chief, four officers, and six troop members lost their lives; the preliminary information available so far indicates that the event was due to adverse weather conditions in the area.” The aircraft was destined for the 5 de Mayo Air Base, in Durango.

On November 24, 2010, in the heart of the Monterrey International Airport, Nuevo León, five members of the militia died when the Antonov AN 32 B plane in which they were traveling crashed -in flight- into an auxiliary runway head, setting the aircraft on fire. To contact. Firefighters went immediately to put out the incident, but the crew members were already dead, apparently from the impact or burns. They were three officers and two troop elements. The Russian-made ship was based in Santa Lucía, State of Mexico.

During the current federal administration, a Mexican Air Force Learjet plane crashed with fatal consequences in the community of Lencero, municipality of Emiliano Zapata, in Veracruz, with a balance of six dead military agents. The device assigned to the Special Air Transport Unit of the High Command (UETAAM) of the Sedena in Mexico City, had just taken off from the Xalapa Airport bound for Villahermosa when it collapsed at the end of the runway, to fall on a plot and blow.

As well as these air accidents, at least another five were recorded at the beginning of Calderon’s six-year term, each one of them resulting in three deaths. On February 27, 2007, in Aldama, Tamaulipas; May 17 of that year, in Choix, Sinaloa; 14 days later in Guachochi, Chihuahua; on June 24 of that year, in Caborca, Sonora; and finally, on October 2, 2009, in the Garnica hill, municipality of Queréndaro in Michoacán. There were other aerial tragedies, with one or two deaths in various parts of the national geography.


Undoubtedly, the shooting confrontations between organized crime groups and the Armed Forces, with or without fatalities and injured people, are the ones that attract the most attention because they occur frequently. Only during the current year, there have been 42 attacks against members of the Mexican Army, which has left one soldier dead, nine soldiers wounded, 31 alleged aggressors dead, 12 alleged criminals injured and 94 injured on the streets, highways, or farms. potential criminals arrested.

The Sedena is one of the dependencies to which more resources have been allocated. Photo: Cuartoscuro.

However, it is worth mentioning that in this six-year term there have been no ambushes or executions of elements of the Sedena such as those that occurred during the two previous government administrations, mainly the work of organized crime groups.

Michoacán, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Sinaloa and Puebla have been the scenes of those battles.

Among the bloodiest events against the militia is what happened on December 20 and 21, 2008 in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, when eight soldiers who showed signs of torture and detachment of the skull were found dead. There were seven troop elements and one officer.

Military authorities reported at the time that it was a reaction from criminal organizations due to the “strong blows” dealt by the Armed Forces, which had “provoked a decline in its functional and economic structure.”

But perhaps no event has the magnitude of narcoterrorism in the history of the country like the one recorded on the morning of May 1, 2015, in the limits of the municipalities of Casimiro Castillo and Villa Purificación, in the South Coast Region of the State of Jalisco, when Members of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) shot down a Mexican Air Force Cougar helicopter with a rocket launcher and 50-caliber Barrett shots, killing eight soldiers and one member of the Federal Police.

The same day, Sedena began Operation Jalisco with the intention of arresting Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes “El Mencho”, leader of the CJNG, who was apparently in the region, so, without notifying the state authorities, they went to the point where they were attacked. Barely a year earlier, on May 12, a convoy of soldiers was attacked by a criminal commando from the same cartel dedicated to huachicoleo, after they had secured the product stolen from the Petróleos Mexicanos pipeline. Mercilessly, the drug traffickers set fire to the soldiers’ truck, four of them dying in flames.

Numerous other events in terms of victims of the military took place in Monterrey on October 18, 2008. Six soldiers from the Infantry Battalion of the Military Zone were executed. The bodies of two soldiers and two Corporals appeared dead and with their throats slit in alleged revenge of criminals for the seizure of nine tons of drugs and an arsenal, in previous days, in San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León. Later they found two other corpses with traces of torture.

Other multiple assassinations of soldiers took place and date on May 1, 2007, in Carácuaro, Michoacán, with a balance of five dead; same amount, on August 3, 2013, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas; five more soldiers died when confronting hit men on September 30, 2016, in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Two more events with four murdered elements occurred on January 30, 2016, in Mocorito, Sinaloa, and on May 3, 2017, when Sedena agents tried to arrest huachicoleros in Palmarito, Puebla.


Mexico Daily Post