Incredible narco tanks built by Mexican cartels could be straight from the set of Mad Max

As violence in Mexico raged with intense competition between rival drug cartels and the Mexican government, the cartels came up with a radical solution for improving their capabilities in the street.

Through ingenious engineering, and by taking a page out of Mad Max, various cartels created “narco tanks.”

These home-made armoured vehicles, also known in Spanish as “monstruo” for their hulking size, reached peak popularity in 2011 as the Mexican military seized a garage from the Los Zetas that was being used to construct the vehicles. Four narco tanks were seized in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in addition to an additional 23 trucks that were awaiting modification.

The Mexican military’s subsequent crack-down on the creation of monstruos forced the practice to go 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 are some of the most impressive narco tanks from the vehicles heyday.

The largest most behemoth versions of narco tanks were created from modified semi-trucks.

Although, in a pinch, dump trucks were also modified into massive steel-plated monsters.

Screen Shot 2015 02 18 at 4.57.28 PMYouTubeA narco-tank seized in Monterrey, Mexico in 2011

Even smaller narco tanks were armoured almost completely with steel plates that could be upwards of two inches thick.

As part of further defensive measures, the tanks were usually equipped with double wheels.

Offensively, narco tanks had armoured turrets and weapon bays on the side out of which cartel members could point assault rifles.

Some vehicles were even equipped with battering rams to plow through traffic and any potential roadblocks.

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