Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Monster" armored truck unearthed in Coahuila

Sedena reports that an Army detachment unearthed a semi buried Zeta “monster” medium armored vehicle at 5:00am Tuesday at a ranch, Rancho San Juan, located in the municipality of Progreso in northern Coahuila, between Monclova and Piedras Negras.

This is the first monster vehicle of its type found in Coahuila and closely resembles another armored vehicle found in Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas, in early May of this year.

The vehicle is built on a Ford Super Duty 4 x 4 frame and is powered by a V-10 Triton gasoline engine with a reinforced transmission and drivetrain. The armour consists of 1 cm thick steel plate and all windows are 5 layer ballistic glass.

The vehicle has driver and passenger front doors and a rear access door, is double turreted, and has 6 windows with a total of 9 weapon portholes on both sides. In addition to the driver and passenger there is space for 12 gunmen.

It is theorized that the vehicle was hidden due to the heavy presence of Army and Marine units currently in Coahuila to provide security, undertake anti-crime operations and prevent organized crime groups from disrupting the gubernatorial and state legislative elections scheduled for July 3rd.



  1. the 1st pic looks like something out of an 60's B-movie

  2. Haha. I agree with the B-movie comment. I gotta admit: Out of all the monster truck, this has to be the best looking one.

  3. I want one of these things!!!

  4. I still find it kind of hilarious that the cartels go to so much trouble to armour these vehicles, and after at least a couple of years of making these things, still put the armour where it will look "coolest" and not where it's most needed/most efficient.
    Armour is HEAVY (surprise surprise) so you want to use the minimum amount that will give you the best protection.
    That thing sure looks impressive, but did they really need to use SO much armour around the engine? Especially with all those bumps and angles? Did they really need to armour the roof? Or the headlights? Meanwhile the tires, which have proven to be a weakness before, are completely naked.
    Don't get me wrong, I hope the Zetas continue to waste as much money and time making these unwieldy beasts as possible, and that they keep putting so much useless plate that they cripple their "monsters". It's just funny to watch them fail.

    PS Compare and contrast this with the armoured pickups being used by the rebels in Libya for much more practical, effective designs.

    1. They actually did a better job than some of our military trucks are armored. The reason for armoring the engine is that they don't travel in convoys and a disabling shot to the engine will stop them in their tracks. The angles deflect bullets and the more the angle, the thinner the armor can be. It's really quite brilliant.

  5. Damn I wondered what happened to my Ford 350 that was hijacked last year. The Journalist keep whining about the war on crome being a failure, but each time the Narcos take a hit it makes me smile. Do you ever think these people will ever get a job and be productive,its possible??

  6. Santiago-

    Your observations are correct, as far as the design of conventional armored vehicles goes. I had the same thoughts myself until I realized that these Narcopanzers are not intended to be used in the traditional armored vehicle roles- ambushes, encounter battles and pursuits. Instead, the primary tactical use of these vehicles is to be the Anvil in urban Hammer and Anvil operations. Looked at from that perspective, the designs make sense. All these Zeta Narcopanzers have wheel protection, BTW. It is removed because it interferes with mobility and then put in place before battle.

  7. the armor is angled so that bullets are deflected. they use less armor that way.

  8. armor is not angled to deflect bullets. Yes the angle may deflect incoming rounds and I'm sure the occupants will be happy about that. Armour is primarily sloped to help increase the thickness. If you take a piece of armor that is 1" thick and place it vertical a projectile needs to penetrate exactly 1". Place the same plate on a 45 degree angle and now that same incoming projectile now has to travel through approx 1.5" of plate.
    We owe this revelation to the makers of the T-34

  9. it appears they failed to take into account having solid rubber tires on the 2nd one.

  10. If anyone thinks that crime will go away if the "war on drugs" ends, take a close look at this monster. This is for inter-cartel fighting.

    We crossed a line a long time ago when this was some criminals pushing back. These are highly organized, wealthy groups that operate with impunity all over Mexico.

    Militaristic operations, armor and weapons. And when they catch one, there are thousands to fill the breach. And Sicilia and his pals want the government to end so that they can have peace. They are so out of touch with the reality of what is happening that they are harming this beautiful country with their complacency and pacifism

  11. I'm assuming no Federale or Municipal Policia would have the balls to try and pull this thing over. That thing should be spotted by everyone from a mile away, someone should easily call Mex's version of 911 and a convoy of troops (which seem to be everywhere) with in minutes should be able to intercept it,but this is Mexico.

  12. @ Anonymous 7:48 am

    Actually, even for the type of combat you describe they are still being extremely wasteful with their armour. If the plan is to use this thing offensively there is no need to armour the roof or the top of the hood. Bullets will almost never come in from high angles in the type of battles these guys are fighting. If what you say is true and what they want is an "anvil" then it's even worse because they wouldn't need so much armour in the front and back since they'd orient the truck to fire "broad side" as it were. Also, the boat-like shape of the armour around the engine is still extremely inefficient and looks like they just wanted the thing to look "cool".

    This thing reminds me more of the uber-armoured cars the president of the US travels in, lots of armour covering every possible square centimetre. But you only armour something like that if what you're worried about is surviving an extremely nasty ambush. By what I've read the Zetas (try) to use these things offensively, so they are failing horribly with these designs. With the metal and effort they're putting in these things they could have made 3 or 4 faster, more effective fighting vehicles.

  13. Last week we had a very interesting tour of the Brownsville area Border Patrol
    Station. I do not know if I came away impressed or depressed. The Border Patrol is doing
    a good job considering the limited resources they have. They have cameras along the 23
    mile stretch that they monitor. They catch a high number of drugs and illegals but the US
    patrols only 129 miles of the 2000 mile US Mexican border. The news we get in the US
    about violence in Mexico is closely monitored by the cartels. Which means we get very
    I asked one of the supervisors giving the tour why we do not have military on the border.
    He said there are laws that prevent it.
    I find it amazing that with thousands of Mexicans along the Mexican border being killed
    each year, our US civilians and agents being killed and tons of drugs undermining our
    society or government is not taking this seriously. Mexico is a lawless country. Our
    military should be on our border not in involved in every little country's civil war.

  14. This design is very similar to our local SWAT TAnk. This design is VERY useful because of the fact of pointed front. When you ram an object it is likely to get stuck in front. At an angle thus object is moved aside. EX. Cars getting stuck in front of a train after it is hit. Most trains do not have the plow in front which would allow the hit object to be pushed aside.
    The angled armor is more effective than flat armor. A projectile excerts more force PSI when hitting a object head on (flat surface) When said surface is placed at an angle the force is now excerted over a larger area (simple High School Physics). Now like someone said above, if you angle the armor you make the same piece of armor work more, now 1" of armor can infact be 1.5" if placed at the correct angle (then there are variables such as the angle the shooter is at). As for the roof, not a stupid idea. How many times did our troops get hit from a HPOV? Many times and armored tops saved them many times!

    Armored cars/SUV's use a combo of armor plating and kevlar, because they are not angled. They would be as heavy as a tank if they used the amount of plating needed to be safe.

    These guys are either getting smarter or they kidnapd someone smart.

  15. nice ..i guess it has a real stereo and cold AC..

    carne asada recipe..add 12 zetas ... tack weld openings shut...then cover with gas ..preferably gelled ..light..turn up music to mask screaming ..allow to grill for 20 ...remove zetas ..peel and eat ...tabien?

  16. Are there any reported cases of these being used effectively? It looks like a hanomag (Sdkfz251) with a closed roof.

  17. The fact they build these things clearly shows who is in charge in Mexico and it's not the government. Can you imagine the Italian Mafia rolling around Bay Ridge Brooklyn in one of these. yeah, I bet NYPD would just sit back and allow it. For those that say the US is just as corrupt or just as bad etc etc, just picture this thing rolling around your USA neighborhood and ask yourself how long until it was taken down and criminals taken into custody...Point Numero Uno

    I agree with the poster "instead of being in every little country's civil war" We have a lot more to gain or lose if Mexico fails. If things don't improve in 3 more years, I'm willing to bet the US ends up on the ground there and I don't mean covertly. Point Numero Dos

    3. I think these guys hi jacked this truck from the old Mad Max set. I wonder if it has neon lights underneath. I think the US should start outsourcing their tank builds to Mexicans....."pause" NNNNOTTT!!

  18. I wonder how that stupid looking thing would hold up against a Hellfire ot TOW missle?

  19. Unfortunately, I can think as well as the Taliban. And what I think is that it would only take one well buried explosive device in the middle of the path of one of these things, set off at the right time, to turn it into an expensive compost mixer.

  20. I have a question. Why doesn't the Mexican government allow its citizens to arm them selves? Are they afraid some one will shoot a cartel member? They would think twice about hijacking a bus.

  21. I also agree with the poster. I can not understand why the US will not face the situation that exists in Mexico. The Mexican government can not control the cartel problem. What rational does the US have? They bomb Moammar Gadhafi for killing a few hundred rebels which has no threat to the US. While the cartels kill thousands right at our door step.
    How far do the payoffs go up the ladder?

    Read more: The Libyan War of 2011 | STRATFOR

  22. About all tow organizations will give street side help administrations, for example, lockouts, tire changes, kicks off, winching (hauling a vehicle out of a region), and some more.fivestartowinginc


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