Mexican Drug War

6 Cartel Armored Vehicles Seized in Border Region of Tamaulipas

One of the 'monsters' discovered near the US border.
One of the 'monsters' discovered near the US border.

6 Cartel Armored Vehicles Seized in Border Region of Tamaulipas

The narco-tanks were hidden in the brush near the city of Camargo

Authorities in the border region of Ribereña, Tamaulipas, said Sunday they have confiscated six armored tank-like vehicles found hidden underbrush in the small community of San Pedro, near the city of Camargo. They are believed to have belonged to cartels in the region.

One of the narco-tanks, with a solid looking ram on the front.

One of the narco-tanks, with a solid looking ram on the front.

The vehicles, which police discovered after noting a man carrying a long firearm, contained 1,787 ammunition shells as well as body armor vests, helmets, caltrops, and an explosive device. The man carrying the weapon fired at police upon seeing them and escaped, authorities said.

The area has been the focus of a territorial war between factions of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas for more than a decade.

Security expert Alexei Chevez told the newspaper Infobae that these tank-style vehicles, often referred to colloquially as “monsters,” are used by cartels either for intense battles or to make a show of force since they are difficult to maneuver and not easy to hide.

They are bastardized from civilian vehicles to look like military tanks. They are made out of armored money transport trucks and other large vehicles — in some cases garbage trucks. They typically feature turrets outfitted with automatic weapons.

Authorities also announced that they had discovered other similarly armored vehicles full of weapons and ammunition in Caborca, Sonora.

The Caborca area is currently a battleground between cartel forces loyal to Ovidio Guzmán, son of jailed cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and the Caborca Cartel, led by Rafael Caro Quintero.

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