Saturday, June 15, 2024

Military employs antitank rocket launchers to counter cartels in Zacatecas

Soldiers in Zacatecas are now carrying shoulder-fired rocket launchers for use against criminal organizations that operate in the northern state, the scene of a bloody turf war between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel that has displaced thousands of people.

The highly violent tactics of the CJNG were the catalyst for the army to increase its firepower in Zacatecas, according to a report by the newspaper Milenio.

The army recently moved at least 10 armored all-terrain vehicles into the state, currently Mexico’s most violent in terms of homicides per capita.

The firepower of the antitank rocket launchers – which are reportedly Belgian- made RL-83 Blindicides – can neutralize heavily armored vehicles such as the so-called monstruos (monsters) used by the CJNG and other criminal groups. The weapons have a maximum range of approximately 900 meters and can blast through thick concrete walls.

The army is also using rocket launchers in other states where the CJNG operates, Milenio reported.

fallen National Guardsman Zacatecas
National Guardsmen send home a fallen member who died in a February 19 confrontation in Sarabia. In 2022, at least 16 military personnel have been killed in Zacatecas.

Led by Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, the Jalisco cartel is considered one of the two most powerful criminal organizations in Mexico, the other being the Sinaloa Cartel.

The conflict between those cartels is the main cause of the high levels of violence in Zacatecas. The CJNG has immense firepower that it has shown off in videos posted online.

Last March, the army seized a Soviet-era grenade launcher the cartel used in a confrontation in Rincón de Guayabitos, Nayarit.

In 2015, during an operation in Jalisco aimed at capturing Oseguera, the CJNG fired missiles at a military helicopter and hit it twice in an attack that killed nine occupants of the aircraft.

In addition to high-powered firearms and armored vehicles, the cartel has used drones and improvised explosive devices (land mines) in its fight against rival criminal groups and authorities, as well as tactical equipment such as night-vision goggles and bulletproof vests.

With reports from Milenio

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