TERRIFYING video shows the moment a Mexican TV crew reporting on a drug cartel came under a hail of gunfire from the criminals.
The reporters were travelling with armed locals who have set up a self-defence group to protect themselves against the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
CJNG is a £13 billion drug empire led by Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera Cervantes which has now consolidated power in at least 35 states across Mexico.
Reporters Marco Antonio Coronel and Fernando Guillén were out with a self-defence patrol in La Bocanada, in the cartel stronghold province of Michoacan.
They were riding what appears to be a homemade armoured vehicle when it came under fire, the Infobae news website reports.
The sound of bullets ricocheting off the vehicle can be heard as militiamen immediately grab their rifles and begin firing back through special holes cut in the side.
One of the self-defence group appears takes hit in the arm, shouting “ow” as the gun battle rages.
The self-defence militiamen can be heard shouting "let's go!" and bullet holes can be seen in the side of the vehicle, close to where the reporters were sitting.
One of them glances up at the two holes just inches away as the shooting continues.
The reporters went to La Bocanda after the CJNG established a fortress as a base for their drug trafficking operations from with to control the area and attack the self-defence groups.
This year there have been 2,100 homicides in the local province of Michoacan, compared to 800 in 2015.
Who are the Jalisco New Generation Cartel?
Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased massively in recent years with murders now commonplace.
Mexico’s history of its drug cartels is one of splits and constant fighting between themselves as they battle for supremacy.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel sprang up in around 2009 when an earlier gang, Milenio Cartel, split apart.
Current leader of the CJNG is Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as ‘El Mencho’ who is one of Mexico’s most wanted drug lords.
The gang are currently caught fight an increasingly bloody and violent drug war with a number of gangs.
CJNG is regarded as Mexico's strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa Cartel formerly led by jailed kingpin Joaquin El Chapo Guzman.
It is often credited with infiltrating poorly paid and trained police departments across the country to protect its wide-ranging criminal rackets.
Nationwide, the central American country is on course to break its record murder toll of 33,000 victims that was set last year.
Mexican authorities estimate CJNG oversaw one-third of all drugs smuggled into the United States.
Its rise has been accompanied by appalling violence including ripping out victims' hearts, dissolving their bodies in barrels of acid, and even targeting pregnant women.
The beheaded corpses of their rivals have been hanged off bridges as a warning to others.
In response to failures by the authorities to control the cartel violence and attempts extort money from businesses have seen local self-defence groups have spring up.
Security experts say have helped contain violence in crime-stricken areas like Michoacan.
The groups began emerging after former President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led crackdown on cartels in Michoacan, his home state, shortly after taking office in December 2006.
When Calderon’s successor Enrique Pena Nieto took power in 2012 self-defence groups began fighting major battles with the cartels.
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