Police in Mexico recently discovered a large drug cartel training camp in the west part of the country, according to a report by the Latin American Tribune. The Caballeros Templarios cartel allegedly used the grounds, sometimes referred to as a “narcocamp,” to train gunmen.
The camp, which was allegedly located in a remote part of the Mexican state Michoacán, included a helicopter landing pad. Authorities believe that the pad was used to smuggle drugs and conduct other illegal activities, according to reports.
The Latin American Tribune reported that the narcocamp also included sleeping areas and two kitchens, both of which had electricity run by solar panels. A firing range was also reportedly on the premises.
Reports state that the camp appeared to have been abandoned.
Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert, said, “These kinds of training camps have been discovered in different parts of Mexico, most notably those belonging to Los Zetas in northeast Mexico, and even some in northern Guatemala. This is common for narcoterror groups like the FARC in Colombia to establish these camps so they can train new recruits in marksmanship and guerrilla-style warfare. This specific camp was abandoned, but there’s a very good chance there are more like them in other parts of Michoacán.”
Mexican authorities are having difficulties controlling the increasingly menacing drug cartels.
Breitbart Texas recently reported that in response to cartel violence plaguing the country, uniforms and assault rifles were given to hundreds of vigilantes in Mexico. The armed civilians will be transformed into Mexico’s new rural police force.
Although Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto previously deployed thousands of troops to control gang and cartel violence, vigilantes were credited for successfully forcing many gang members out of communities. Some have alleged that Mexican troops are ineffective because they have been infiltrated by cartels.
There are some accusations, however, that vigilante groups have also been infiltrated by cartels. Observers also point out that there is nothing preventing cartel members from posing as vigilantes. The Telegraph reported that 155 suspects were discovered dressed as vigilantes.
Additional efforts to curb the cartels include plans for Mexico to create its own border patrol, as Breitbart Texas previously reported. The Mexican government plans to use border patrol on both its northern and southern borders. If this successfully decreases illegal immigration and drug smuggling in Mexico, it would be a blow to the prominent cartels.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.