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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #36: Claymore Anti-Personnel Mines Recovered in Reynosa, Tamaulipas

Posted by El Profe for Borderland Beat from SWJ

by Robert J. Bunker and John P. Sullivan

Two anti-personnel mines (minas antipersonales) were recovered from suspected members of the Cartel del Golfo (Gulf Cartel) in Reynosa, Tamaulipas on Wednesday, 7 February 2018 by Mexican Army (Ejército Mexicano) (SEDENA) personnel from the Eighth Military Zone (Octava Zona Militar).

Key Information: “Decomisan dos minas antipersonales en Tamaulipas.” El Heraldo de México. 7 February 2018,

[Translated from Original Post]

Two antipersonnel mines, among other high power weapons drugs and fuel were seized by personnel of the Mexican Army. This occurred in various deployed actions, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. In these events, three people were arrested.

By intensifying the patrol and the search for criminal signs during the last 48 hours, in gaps located in the vicinity of the Rio Grande, the military elements detected hiding places in vacant areas that were hidden among dry brush and garbage.

The personnel of the eighth Military Zone secured 17 assault rifles known as goat horns, two .50 caliber Barret rifles, as well as two antipersonnel mines. In addition, they found a grenade launcher, a special 38 caliber pistol, two ballistic plates for a waistcoat, 55 magazines and 458 rifle cartridges.

Five vehicles were also confiscated, a cistern pipe, 45 doses of white powder with characteristics of cocaine, a communication radio, 21 thousand liters of hydrocarbon and three people were arrested in flagrante delicto.

Key Information: “Asegura Ejército armas, droga y 21 mil litros de huachicol.” El Mañana. 7 February 2018, 

[Translated from Original Post]

Reynosa, Tamaulipas, February 7, 2018- Staff of the Eighth Zone Military secured a large quantity of weapons, loaders, cartridges and vehicles, as well as doses of white powder with the characteristics of cocaine and 21 thousand liters of hydrocarbon in various actions carried out in gaps located in the vicinity of the Rio Grande, in Tamaulipas territory.

By intensifying the patrolling and searching for criminal signs during the last 48 hours, elements of the Mexican Army detected hiding places in vacant places that were hidden among dry brush and garbage. Three people were arrested in flagrante delicto.

In all the actions, 17 assault rifles known as Cuernos de Chivo, 2 Barret rifles caliber .50; 2 anti-personnel mines, 1 attachment launches grenades, a special 38 caliber pistol, 2 ballistic plates for a waistcoat, 55 magazines and 458 rifle cartridges; 5 vehicles, one cistern, 45 doses of white powder with cocaine characteristics, a communication radius and 21 thousand liters of hydrocarbon.
Other Weaponry—including two .50 Cal Sniper Rifles—
seized along with the Claymore Anti-Personnel Mines
Source: SEDENA Photo [For Public Distribution]

Key Information: “Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS) in Mexico from 2009 to 2011.” Defense Intelligence Agency. CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN (FOIA; Freedom of Information Act—Title 5, Section 552): 17,
Key Information: David A. Kuhn and Robert J. Bunker, “Mexican Cartel Tactical Note#10: Claymore Anti-Personnel Mine (and Other Military Hardware) Recovered in Zacatecas.” Small Wars Journal. 14 May 2012,

Engagement between Mexican military personnel and traffickers who had a large amount of marijuana and military weapons and hardware in their possession.

The municipalities of Teul de González Ortega and Florencia de Benito Juárez in the state of Zacatecas. Military Region V and XI Military Zone.
January 26-27, 2012.
The photograph of the weaponry recovered and shown on the tarp is from La Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA).
*Numbers were added during the writing of the tactical note for forensic analysis of the seized weaponry.

Teul de González Ortega and Florencia de Benito Juárez, Zacatecas; 26-27 January 2012
5. M18A1 Claymore Anti-personnel Mine (or exact foreign production copy)
6. M18A1 electrical wire (detonating) and storage reel
7. Firing Device, electric impulse, hand, M18A1 Claymore AP Mine
8. Electrical wire, supplemental, M18A1
Source: “Mexican Cartel Tactical Note#10.” Small Wars Journal

Who: Cartel del Golfo (Gulf Cartel) (Alleged)

What: 2 Anti-personnel mines (Claymore M18A1) along with high caliber small arms (including 2 .50 caliber Barret rifles, 17 “Cuernos de Chivo” or AK-47s, grenade launchers, ammunition, 21,000 liters of stolen fuel (hydrocarbons) and tools for petroleum theft.

When: Wednesday, 7 February 2018, approx. 0600 hrs.

Where: Reynosa, Tamaulipas (proximate to the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo)

Why: Counter-narco interdiction by Mexican Army (Ejército Mexicano) (SEDENA)


Alleged members of the Cartel del Golfo (Gulf Cartel) were interdicted near illegal petroleum taps (tomas clandestinas) proximate to the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo by Mexican Army (Ejército Mexicano) (SEDENA) personnel from the Eighth Military Zone (Octava Zona Militar).  The SEDENA enforcement operations augmented similar operations by the Federal Police (Policía Federal) and la Marina (SEMAR) supporting Fuerza Tamaulipas (Tamaulipas State Police) to combat cartel violence and fuel theft.  The state of Tamaulipas and the Reynosa plaza have been intensely contested in recent months and the area is considered a cartel battlefield (campo de guerra) characterized by gunfights, blockades (narcobloqueos), and explosions.[1]

In this incident, two Claymore Anti-personnel Mines were recovered in an underground weapons cache. Imagery of one of the mines clearly shows it to be a U.S. M18A1 mine (or exact foreign copy) along with accompanying electrical wire (detonating) and storage reel and a electric impulse hand-triggered firing device. This is not the first case where anti-personnel mines (minas antipersonales) have been discovered in the hands of Mexican criminal cartels. Table 1 describes three specific cases dating back to 2009.  Additional statistics regarding interdictions are contained in the following text. Thus far, all reported cases of cartel possession of anti-personnel mines have resulted in interdictions and seizures of the devices.

This incident (7 February 2018) also highlights the downside of hasty news analysis using popular terminology, as seen in a recent Breitbart Texas article related to it:
While the Gulf Cartel and other Mexican criminal organizations have used grenades and Russian-made RPGs in the past, this appears to be an early case of U.S. military-grade landmines near the border.[2]
Claymores are not traditional landmines—they are a command-detonated directional anti-personnel mines mounted vertically on stakes (not buried horizontally in the ground).[3] No land mines—anti-personnel or anti-vehicular—are known to have been utilized by or recovered from the cartels in Mexico. Nor is this an ‘early warning incident,’ given that open source reporting of an earlier cartel claymore incident took place 6 years ago in Zacatecas (or even 8½ years ago in Apizaco, based on newer information released by the DIA).[4] While some concern exists that the claymores in possession of the cartels were found just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, such military anti-personnel mines have also recently been found in a buried weapons cache in a far larger quantity on the U.S. side of the border in Pine, Arizona.[5]

According to news reports citing the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), Mexican authorities decommissioned 18 anti-personnel mines in the last days of the Calderón Sexenio ending in November 2012. The PGR determined that the majority of the antipersonnel mines they captured were M18A1 Claymore mines that were shipped to El Salvador during the 1980s and 90s. The devices were decommissioned from the hands of various criminal groups in Baja California, Tlaxcala, Chiapas, Tamaulipas, Michoacán, Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Tabasco. Drug cartels are believed to have purchased these devices in El Salvador. Similar devices have also been used by guerillas, the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional), and criminal groups in Colombia.[6]

In addition, according to SIEDO data, between September 2014 and June 2015, 66 explosive artifacts or munitions were confiscated from cartels in Mexico. Various types of anti-personnel mines accounted for 23% of that total.[7] Anti-personnel mines have several potential applications by cartels. They can be used to protect personnel, safe houses, laboratories, and illicit shipments of drugs and stolen fuel from competitors and the police and military. They can also be used to enhance the effectiveness of narcobloqueos (blockades) and protect the sites of illicit fuel taps (tomas clandestinas) and be deployed offensively to create “killing ground” in which to ambush Mexican federal police and military personnel. Concerning the deadly potentials of these devices:
The M18A1 “Claymore” Anti-personnel Mine carries an explosive weight of 682-grams (1.50-lbs. of Composition C-4).  It will deliver steel fragments over a 60° fan-shaped pattern that is 50-meters wide and 2-meters in height, and is effective up to a range of 100-meters.  These blast fragments are still dangerous up to 250-meters forward of the mine.[8]
The proliferation of anti-personnel mines into the hands of drug cartels and gangs has disturbing potentials. While anti-personnel mines are not unknown in non-international armed conflict settings, having been used by FARC and ELN guerillas in Colombia for example, their increasing presence in Mexico can potentially lead to their actual field use, ratcheting up the already high levels of casualties and violence taking place. The proliferation of anti-personnel mines from guerrillas to BACRIM (bandas criminals emergentes) in Colombia has already been noted.[9] In addition, Brazilian gangs and Colombian BACRIM have been recruiting demobilized FARC commandos; it would not be a surprise if they bring TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) involving use of anti-personnel mines with them in the future.[10]

Significance: Ambushes, Booby Traps, Cartel del Golfo (Gulf Cartel), Cartel Weaponry, Foreign Arms Transfers, La Familia Michoacana, M18A1 Claymore Antipersonnel Mine (AP Mine), Minas Antipersonales

[Refer to all Notes and Sources on original page]


  1. Concerning claymore mines: If you can sneak up to yo enemy without alerting him to yo presence. They can be turned around to face yo enemy instead of having them face you. Should you be to afraid to risk it don’t hesitate to use livestock. Better they be slaughtered than you. Either way it’s a BLAST to see it all. - Sol Prendido

    1. 10:02 GI's in Vietnam used various methods to foil any trickster Viet Cong tinkering with the claymores. Sometimes the claymores was placed in a tree. Not only did this prevent it from being turned around, but at this elevation the claymores could blow off heads rather than legs. Secondly the GIs would booby-trap claymores with hand grenades primed with zero-delay fuzes.

    2. When I was 13 I used to think like you, then I grew UP. ALL THESE WEAPONS CAUSE SO MUCH PAIN.

    3. 4:39 You may have grown up but your thoughts echo the fantasy realms of a child. If humans were angels there would be no need for weapons. When the bad men come for your ass Jesus Christ won't help you, but Mr. Colt or Mr. Kalashnikov might. When you need a pig for the pot the animal won't obligingly present himself for braising. Yet a bullet to the skull will overcome any misgivings he may have of fueling your metabolism.

    4. Luckily the US owns the military tribunals and human rights courts that investigate and punish war crimes and mass murdering all over the world...

    5. @4:39 No one ever picks up a weapon and thinks to himself yea I’ll go out and hurt someone today just because. No. Shit doesn’t play out like that. Many are unwittingly thrown into conflict. - Sol Prendido

    6. So 7.07, that claymore ended up where it was because of unwittingly people? No, they knew exactly what it would do, at EVERY step of its journey. Even if I "unwittingly shoot or harm a bad guy" I am still liable for the negative payback, even though the guy was totally "bad" and my intentions "good". Good vs evil doesn't exist, only enlightenment vs unenlightenment. Karma, payback, the energies are impersonal and don't care if you feed granny 3 times a day. Or leave her to starve. How do I know this? I fought unenlightened beings with force, violence, and I had EXACTLY the same meted out back to me years down the line - I was indignant at first, then ashamed, now I see the impersonal nature of the payback. At the end of the day using violence brought me to their level, I would have avoided the pain if I'd have used enlightened methods to stop the " bad guys" satanists I was fighting. Some people might avoid giving payback "I don't want to respond in kind" " they ain't worth it" whatever but the energies are there, impersonal, and few people get this until its too late. Peace.

    7. 10.57 actually Jesus can and DOES help my sorry ass when unenlightened people try to cause me harm. After all, the LIGHT (TRUTH) shines right into the HEART of darkness. Only going by what I know.

    8. 10.57 do you need to shoot an apple in the head to eat it? Bread? Cheese? Wheat? Beans? Lol comedy man. Shooting hogs ain't pleasant and one day the suffering will phuck you right back. Nothing personal, just business, buddy. Ever wondered why slaughterhouses STINK? Become vegetarian for 8 weeks, detox, OK then sit in a burger king for an hour. Breathe deep. Lol. Try it.

    9. @4:44 Since you mention the energies (which many will deny exist) did you come across the orbs as well. Shall we then say the Nephilim continue to exist? It is they we fight against. And we all know our places in life. - Sol Prendido

  2. So the Cocaine Import Agency also trades antipersonel mines for merchandise?

  3. Our kindly CIA originally shipped these kinds of terrorist weapons to the Latin Americas in the 80s 90s. God only knows what pain they have caused. Very Little surprise at seeing them acquired by narcos.

    1. Airplane bomber, Cuban refugee Luis posada carriles used to blow up things in LatinAmerica, is wanted on a few counteies, but is am American hero of the US extreme right and enjoys presidential pardons and immunity, like Orlando Bosch and Felix ismael Rodriguez mendigutia who is also a drug trafficking intelectual murderer of Kiki Camarena...
      The problem is that while lowly people are supposed to fail and stumble, these high falutin' luminaries are not supposed to,
      but fail is all they do...

  4. Not sure what's scarier, that all that ammunition was recovered, its origins or just how much mores still out there waiting to be used.

  5. On Iraq the rebels were armed with IEDS and technologies to make more of them and ited to about 15 more years of war...
    --in mexico it will help as an excuse for more militarized polesia operations against innocent civilians because narcos, cartels and sicarios del narco got old, now it is against terrorists and their copy 80s disco era claymores, el pedo es seguirla cagando...
    Maybe expert counter-insurgent torturer kidnapper murderer lt col James Steele has an idea of what is going on, he armed some of this shirt when he was in El Salvador earning his human rights abuser accusations, some say he lives nearby in Tejas, after earning more accusations from his Iraq human rights abuses as a private contractor for the occupying US and allies.

  6. So the Marcos are not to blame?. Typical Mexican comments on here. The cia is corrupt and mexicans are not?. Really?.

  7. 9:59 You made a racist hint . Am I not correct ?

    1. Everything is racist now days. Ja ja

    2. Some racism is just jokes,
      but most racists are a joke from top to bottom,
      one dead giveaway, racists can't laugh when they are spouting their blasphemous slanderous epithets.
      The are levels to everything, the racism of some pointing fingers at "the Mexicans" everytime they mention "them" is obviously undeniable, we are lucky most Americans have not been victims of brainwash, propaganda, mind reading, programming, Kompromat and pereztroika...

  8. Aye the Claymores.Of the highlands. A stubborn tribe are ye.

  9. 10:02. You had no access to zero delay fuses. Don't make up shit. That's very tricky business to make a booby trap and nobody would booby trap a claymore like that.

    1. I never mentioned zero delay fuses. That was another commenter genius. Everything can be improvised. So next time you see my moniker try not to go int playa-hater mode babygirl. - Sol Prendido

    2. 6:57 thanks for the exposé, some peepol just can't help it and keep running their mouthas like they had a fuse about to blow in their pedorro

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. @6:57 My source for this information is Sappers In The Wire: The Destruction of Firebase Mary Ann by Keith William Nolan. The frag fuses were replaced by zero delay smoke grenade fuses and the frag was placed beneath the claymores. What say now?

    5. 2:20 You could have posted source with your story
      and saved your pedorro from us
      instead of posing like a wise ass.
      But Thanks.

    6. Sorry, I dredged the original post from memory then had to hunt down the source from my many Vietnam War ebooks. With subsequent posts I will add source/link. Peace.

  10. Damn, in yo face player haters! Playboy rstevenpage just confirmed what I’d said. But what would I know. I’m always being accused of being a fake soldier. Keep thinking that folks. You just make my job that much easier. - Sol Prendido


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