Mexican drug cartels craft armored tanks from scraps photos reveal

No government tanks around to steal, no problem. Mexico’s drug cartels have shown how resourceful they are when it comes to outfitting themselves with armored vehicles — assembling ramshackle but apparently effective versions of tanks from bits and pieces of metal and glass, new photos show. Government authorities Friday tweeted snapshots of a homemade tank they found while sweeping the countryside of San José de Chila, about a seven-hour drive west of Mexico City, in the state of Michoacan.“#GuardiaNacional personnel located a van with handmade armor, allegedly used by a criminal group in the area, ’’ according to the tweet by Mexico’s National Guard. Local reports said the vehicle is believed to have belonged to the gang Los Viagras, which is run by a drugloard nicknamed “El Gordo, ’’ or “the Fat One, ’’ and is currently locked in a turf war with another Mexican cartel. The drug gangs have been known to nickname their homemade armored vehicles the “Rhinoceros, “Batmobile, ’’ “Monster’’ — and even the “Popemobile, ’’ the Mexico Daily News said. Some of the crude tanks are heavily tricked out a la “Mad Max’’ flicks with battering rams, turrets and high-caliber weapons, the outlet said. The vehicles also have been known to be covered with steel panels nearly an inch thick and travel at more than 68 mph while carrying up to 12 people — spewing oil slicks or nails behind them to thwart pursuers just like vehicles in “James Bond” movies.

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