Authorities in northern Mexico say they have destroyed 14 homemade armored vehicles used by drug cartels for ground combat
MEXICO CITY — Authorities in northern Mexico on Sunday said they had destroyed 14 homemade armored vehicles used by drug cartels for ground combat.
These vehicles are often adapted from commercial trucks, with welded steel armor plates. Known in Mexico as “monstruos” or “Monsters,” some of the stolen vehicles are truly monstrous.
Many have thick steel spikes welded to the front. Others have firing portals and gun turrets. At least one was painted in green camouflage to look like a Mexican military vehicle.
Video released by the federal attorney general’s office shows a crane with claws ripping through one of the vehicles in the state of Tamaulipas.
The state bordering Texas is home to at least two warring drug cartels, the Northeast and Gulf gangs. Prosecutors did not say which gang the cars belonged to or when they were seized.
While such vehicles may seem intimidating, they have proven vulnerable in practice. Because steel armor adds so much weight, they tend to be slow, bulky, and often break. Easy to spot, they also appear to be vulnerable to explosive devices or ammunition. Many were found burned.
Their use illustrates the length of time Mexican cartels have gone against their opponents and authorities. The gang’s weapons also include improvised explosive devices and bomb-dropping drones.