EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The state of Tamaulipas says it has seized 257 armored vehicles from organized criminal groups in the past four years, most of which have been dismantled in government impound lots.
A video obtained by Border Report shows how the latest batch of 23 so-called “monsters” seized from the Gulf cartel, Zetas and Northeast cartel are torn apart with the use of cranes and blow torches. Most are ordinary pickups with protective steel sheets; some are tow trucks or semis with welded steel planks that make them look tank-like.
Some of the vehicles had machine-gun ports used by the cartels to attack each other or Mexican law enforcement officers, according to the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office.
“The modifications applied to these vehicles represent a danger to the safety of law enforcement agencies and the community in general,” the AG’s Office said in a statement. Their destruction “dimmish the mobility and firepower of these organized criminal groups.”
The vehicles were seized by the state police’s Special Operations Group, or GOPES, during patrols of known drug trafficking corridors and armed encounters with cartel members, the agency said.
One such seizure occurred on March 12 near the San Fernando-Reynosa highway, where officers on patrol spotted abandoned vehicles half-hidden amid the brush. A month earlier, the state police arrested a man on homicide charges and located 14 vehicles allegedly used in criminal activities, including four armored pickups, inside a body shop in the Riberena neighborhood of Reynosa.
In November, Mexican soldiers came across another three trucks storing gun and ammo parked on a trail near the Marte Gomez dam near the city of Miguel Aleman.