The governor of Coahuila, Mexico, is providing more firepower to his police officers to them battle the weapons employed by cartel gunmen. State police officers will be the only ones legally outfitted with the higher caliber weapons as the public’ possession of these types of guns in Mexico is prohibited by law.
The new weapons ordered by the governor will upgrade police firepower from AR-15 type rifles and handguns to also include rifles in 7.62 and .308 caliber. The new weapons will also include the M-249 light machine guns commonly known as a SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon).
Coahuila’s governor, Miguel Angel Riquelme, pushed for the upgrade in weapons following a terror-style attack on November 30. During that attack, approximately 150 gunmen from Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas rolled into the town of Villa Union where they shot up the city hall, torched vehicles, and clashed with police. At least 23 people died, including 17 cartel gunmen during the gunbattle which lasted for hours. As Breitbart Texas reported at the time, Riquelme said the attack was meant to spread fear among the residents of the northern state.
The Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas deployed convoys of gunmen in armored trucks for the past several months as its main fighting force. Those gunmen are outfitted with various high powered weapons including .50 caliber rifles and grenades. These weapons outclass, in terms of firepower, the AR-15 and handguns routinely carried by police in Mexico. The CDN-Los Zetas gunmen continue to use these convoys as their main security force in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. Now, they deployed these types of high-powered convoys to other regions east as they fight a turf war with the Gulf Cartel.
In the months after the attack in November, Riquelme filed a petition with Mexico’s military so his officers could be granted permission to utilize the upgraded weaponry. In Mexico, the Defense Secretariat is the entity tasked with regulating the legal use of firearms. Historically, drug cartels tap into black markets and outfit their troops with equal or superior firepower than that carried by law enforcement.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Aranda from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report