Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican army destroys drug cartel 'narco-tanks'

Media captionThe steel-coated, air-conditioned vehicles, were recovered during a raid

Mexican soldiers have destroyed four "narco-tanks", lorries fitted with steel armour thought to have been made for the Gulf drug cartel.

The vehicles were seized in a garage in Camargo, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

Authorities said the cartel used the tanks, fitted with air-conditioning and steel plates, to patrol its smuggling routes and transport drugs to the US.

Officials said their armour could only be breached with anti-tank grenades.

'Monsters'

Soldiers had seized the vehicles after a firefight at an illegal garage in Camargo on Saturday.

They said two suspected cartel members guarding the garage had died in the shoot-out with the security forces.

Two of the tanks had already been fitted with armour 2.5cm (1in) thick.

Two more lorries were in the process of being fitted with steel plates, and 23 articulated lorries were still awaiting modification.

The tanks, dubbed "monsters" by the security forces, are believed to be the latest weapon in the fight between the Gulf cartel and their rivals, the Zetas, for control of the drug smuggling routes to the US.

Image caption Makeshift but efficient: The trucks are the latest armoured vehicles to be seized

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