Mexican narcos unleash Mad-Max style tanks as drug wars intensify

Mexico: At least 42 killed in armed battles with drug cartels

Violent Mexican drug lords are transforming ordinary pick-up trucks into terrifying Mad Max-style “Franken-tanks”, as they ramp up their fight with law enforcement agents and rival gangs.

Kidnapped mechanics are being forced to churn out hundreds of the fearsome armoured vehicles in underground garages.

The giant trucks are kitted out with battering rams, four-inch-thick steel plates as well as turrets for machine guns, and represent the latest step in the gangsters’ search for supremacy in their bloody drug wars.

Known as narco-tanks, rhino trucks or simply “monstruos” – meaning monster – they are often painted in camouflage patterns and emblazoned with the cartel’s initials.

Security analyst Romain Le Cour Grandmaison said the armoured trucks were meant to send a very clear message to both rival gangs and security officials.

Read more… The remorseless drug cartels with 45,000 members in a staggering 100 countries

“The monsters are the way to send the message, ‘I’m in charge, and I want everyone to see I’m in charge’,” he told the New York Times.

He added: “These are commando-style groups looking to replicate special forces in how they’re armed, how they’re trained, how they look.”

Originally pioneered by the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas syndicate around a decade ago, the trucks have become increasingly more sophisticated.

They now boast reinforced armour capable of protecting against explosions and bullets.

Mexican armed forces in June seized 14 narco-tanks with the new armour plating in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas.

The Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office warned the modifications to the vehicles represented a new danger to local communities as well as law enforcement agencies.

In the last four years Tamaulipas state police have seized 257 similar Franken-tanks from narcos.

Many of the pick-up trucks used to make the narco-tanks are stolen from the US with Chevrolet Silverados and Ford F-150s being the most sought after models.

They are then given their make-over in underground garages often manned by kidnapped mechanics.

Security expert Héctor Romero Sánchez said not all the mechanics were released alive after finishing their jobs.

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Don’t miss…
Mexico election 2018: Do cartels have influence in Mexican politics?[INSIGHT]
Warning issued after two tourists killed in Mexico in separate attacks[NEWS]
Mexican president fumes over US threat to take out drug cartels[LATEST]

“Once the kidnapping is committed, they take them to their workshops,” he told Foro TV.

“Those workshops can be in different parts of the Mexican Republic. If the technicians are lucky they are set free and leave. Unfortunately, when they’re not so lucky they are killed.”

One of the most popular weapons of the Mexican cartels is the US manufactured M82 semi-automatic rifle.

The M82 can easily penetrate bulletproof vests, concrete walls and even tanks, according to its manufacturer Barrett Firearms.

The Mexican government claimed the weapon was part of a “torrent” of illegal arms flowing into the country in a lawsuit they brought against the company and 10 other US arms manufacturers in 2021.

Mexico alleged the guns were making their way south due to the negligent business practices of the companies.

The M82 has disrupted the balance of power between criminal groups and poorly equipped police forces, security analysts have argued.

The rifle can fire 70 rounds per minute with a maximum range of 2,500 metres.

Mr Le Cour Grandmaison told Reuters: “If you have a Barrett, it means that any non-special forces such as local police and the municipal police cannot fight you.

“That leaves the military as the only ones able to battle cartels.”

Source: Read Full Article