There is a reason why New York Rep. Pete King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee along with Texas Rep. Michael McCaul want to categorize Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations and now, they have even more of a reason to do so. Mexican cartel members have built multiple vehicles similar to military tanks complete with bullet proof plates, glass and slots for machine guns.
Mexican officials say the custom-made armored trucks are used by drug traffickers to transport drugs headed for the United States and weapons back to Mexico. The bulletproof tanks also are used as weapons of war in clashes between rival drug cartels.
These narco-tanks are designed to serve several purposes. Built on a three-axle truck bed, they're fitted with swiveling turrets to shoot in any direction. A reinforced steel battering ram is welded to the front of the vehicle to destroy vehicles and demolish walls. One-inch-thick steel plating is meant to protect occupants from deadly gunfire and grenade blasts.
Two of these armored trucks were seized by the Mexican army in Tamaulipas, a Gulf Coast state just south of Texas. Two more were in the process of being built and 23 big-rig trucks were apparently in line for future "monster" projects.
A look inside these "monster" trucks is very revealing. They have hatches and peepholes for snipers. Their spacious interiors can fit as many as 20 armed men and they are coated with polyurethane for insulation and to reduce noise. They also have air conditioner ducts as well as benches and bars for occupants to hold onto.
The inch-thick steel plating, according to the military spokesman, can withstand weapons up to 50 calibers and grenade explosions.
That's right, built to withstand grenade explosions. Are we about to see an civil war start/escalate in Mexico? Considering 34,000 innocent Mexican citizens have been killed as a result of cartel violence since 2006, we may already be there. On top of that thought, there is no substantial U.S. military presence on the U.S.-Mexico border and there won't be any military presense once National Guard troops currently stationed in the area depart at the end of June, leaving the border wide open for violent cartels with heavy equipment and billions of dollars to operate on. Categorizing Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations would make it easier for the U.S. government to track cartel finances and king pin players, giving authorities the ability to better understand what they're up against.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography