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Mexico: Helicopter crashes after capture of capo without fuel

MEXICO CITY — A Mexican Navy helicopter crashed in July killing 14 Marines because it ran out of fuel following an operation to capture drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, the Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.

The Black Hawk crashed on July 15 in Los Mochis, a city in Sinaloa state near Mexico’s Pacific coast, hours after Marines captured Caro Quintero in the mountains.

Caro Quintero was wanted for extradition to the United States for the 1985 murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena. That extradition process continues.

The Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that the investigation had ruled out the possibility that the helicopter was shot down in an attack and that the manufacturer’s analysis of the aircraft’s flight recorder concluded that it ran out of fuel.

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In August, a Navy official had said the preliminary hypothesis was a problem with the fuel system, but whether it was mechanical or human error was unknown. Thursday’s brief statement did not answer that question.

The Black Hawk and the Marines on board had not been directly involved in Caro Quintero’s capture, but had provided security for those who were.

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