Mexican authorities have ordered two suspected drug cartel operatives to stand trial on charges that they outfitted commercial drones with explosives for use in attacks on security forces.

The April 24 decision to prosecute came less than a week after a pair of police officers were injured by devices in a commercial drone as they cleared a road blocked by drug cartels in the state of Michoacán.

Officials said the attack suggested Mexico’s criminal gangs may hope to use drones as weapons with greater frequency in the future.

Minimal efficiency – for now

The two officers targeted in the April 20 Michoacán strike were only lightly wounded. That, Mexican Defense Ministry officials said, was a consequence of the limited amount of explosives retail drones can lift. It’s feared worse damage could be inflicted as commercial manufacturers boost payload capacities – or cartels get craftier in getting lethal volumes airborne.

It wasn’t the first time drones have turned up…