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14 March 2009

Drug Cartels' New Weaponry Means War

from LA Times by Ken Ellingwood and Tracy Wilkinson

It was a brazen assault, not just because it targeted the city's police station, but for the choice of weapon: grenades.

The Feb. 21 attack on police headquarters in coastal Zihuatanejo, which injured four people, fit a disturbing trend of Mexico's drug wars. Traffickers have escalated their arms race, acquiring military-grade weapons, including hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets with firepower far beyond the assault rifles and pistols that have ted their arsenals.

Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding US and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiauto- matic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the US border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

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