Mexican army dismantles gang's antennas, radios

December 2, 2011 - 12:25 AM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican army troops dismantled a telecommunications system set up by organized crime in four northern states, authorities said Thursday.

The Defense Department said soldiers confiscated 167 antennas and 166 power supplies that gang members used to communicate among themselves and to monitor military movements.

The operation also netted more than 1,400 radios and 2,600 cellphones in the border states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila and in the state of San Luis Potosi, a statement said.

The army hasn't said which cartel was affected.

During the summer, Mexico's navy dismantled a communication system used by the Zetas cartel in the Gulf state of Veracruz. The Zetas have a strong presence in all four of the states involved in the army's operation.

Elsewhere, soldiers confiscated more than a ton of marijuana hidden in a tractor trailer at one of the international bridges at Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. The army arrested the driver.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. government delivered inspection technology and a surveillance plane to help Mexico's navy fight drug cartels.

The equipment is part of the Merida Initiative, a program for which the U.S. government has spent $1.4 billion since 2008 in helping Mexico and Central American nations counter drug trafficking.