As drug trafficking-related violence in Mexico raged, the cartels came up with a radical solution for improving their capabilities in face offs with other criminal groups and Mexican security services.
Narco-tanks are home-made armoured vehicles, also known in Spanish as “monstruo” for their hulking size. They reached peak popularity in 2011 as the Mexican military seized a garage from the Los Zetas drug-trafficking organisation that was being used to construct the vehicles. At that point, criminal gangs could operate military-like vehicles out in the open with apparent impunity.
The Mexican military’s subsequent crackdown on the creation of monstrous forced the practice even further underground. Narco-tanks are still produced, but today’s versions have their armoured paneling on the inside so as to not draw unwanted attention from rival cartels and the military.
Below is a breakdown of the various features that made narco-tanks into impregnable, drug-running beasts.
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