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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Mexican gangs build war wagons


20:07 |


Mexican war wagons Powerful .50-caliber weapon bolted to the bed of a truck. Reports vary on what kind of weapon it was: Mexican Federal Police General Rodolfo Cruz said it was a .50 caliber Browning machine gun -- a Ma Deuce -- while the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said it was an unmodified semi-automatic weapon built by U.S. manufacturer TNW Firearms. But either way, it sounds like an effort to build a "technical" -- an improvised fighting vehicle of the kind favored by Somali warlords and developing-world armies. Coverage of Mexico's drug war has become mixed up with a debate in the United States over gun control. But as the Associated Press reported yesterday, traffickers are now tooling up with more military-grade weaponry. "Stockpiles captured by Mexican soldiers show that warring traffickers are now obtaining military-grade weaponry such as grenades, launchers, machine guns, mortars and anti-tank rockets," the report said. More worryingly, some gangs have obtained military-grade explosives -- the basic ingredients for building the kind of improvised explosive devices that have proven so lethal in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cartels, however, have not necessarily mastered bomb-making skills: As Stratfor noted last year, a roadside bomb that was supposedly meant for a Mexican police official detonated prematurely, killing the bombmaker and injuring an accomplice.


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