Homebrew tanks of the Mexican vigilante movement

Mexico's Rural State Force is a deputized group of irregulars drawn from the vigilante groups who've engaged in pitched, armed battles with the powerful and vicious drug cartels. They've adopted the cartels' tactic of homebrewing "monstros" — maker-tanks with turrets, gun-galleries and armor.

Farther southwest in Michoacan state, vigilantes fighting the Knights Templar cartel this year followed the lead to build their own trucks for battle. "We were going into heavy gunfire and we needed protection. So we made these monsters of our own, based on the vehicles that the Zetas had built," says Francisco Espinosa, a 26-year-old cattle rancher who fought among the vigilantes.

In May, Mexico's government deputized many members of these so-called self-defense groups, including Espinosa, into a new police squad called the Rural State Force. But they have kept their makeshift trucks in their old vigilante barracks at a cattle stable in the town of Tepelcatepec, in case they need to use them in the future.

Mexico's vigilantes are building scrappy DIY tanks to fight narcos [Ioan Grillo/Global Post]

(via Bruce Sterling)