March 3, 2009 Consulate Monterrey
S E C R E T
SUBJECT: MEXICO: TRACKING NARCO-GRENADES CLASSIFIED
1. (SBU) During recent months Mexican narco-traffickers have directed a series of grenade attacks directed against, inter alia, Mexican law enforcement and military facilities, civilian crowds, and U.S. consular installations. The escalation in the strength and power of the weapons used by the narco-traffickers has not only cost lives, but has taken its toll in terms of the damage done to local civil society.
2. (S) AmConsulate General Monterrey’s ATF Office, the ATF Explosives Technology Branch, and AmEmbassy Mexico DAO have been working with Mexican law enforcement authorities to identify the origin of various grenades and other explosive devices recovered locally over the past few months, including the unexploded M26A2 fragmentation grenade hurled at the Consulate itself during the October 11, 2008 attack. Other ordnance recovered includes 21 grenades recovered by Mexican law enforcement on October 16, 2008 after a raid at a narco-warehouse in Guadalupe (a working class suburb of Monterrey), and twenty-five 40mm explosive projectiles, a U.S. M203 40mm grenade launcher, and three South Korean K400 fragmentation grenades recovered the same day in an abandoned armored vehicle that suspected narco-traffickers used to escape apprehension.
3. (S/NF) Local Mexican law enforcement has recovered a Grenade spoon and pull ring from an exploded hand grenade used in a January 6, 2009 attack on Televisa Monterrey, a Monterrey television station. Based upon ATF examination, it appears that the grenade used in the attack on the Consulate has the same lot number, and is of similar design and style, as the three of the grenades found at the narco-warehouse in Guadalupe. On January 7, 2009, the Mexican Army recovered 14 M-67 fragmentation grenades and 1 K400 fragmentation grenade in Durango City, Durango. Finally and perhaps most disturbing, on January 31, 2009 three men tossed a K-75 grenade into a night club near Pharr, Texas — an East Texas border town –but the grenade did not explode. The attackers may have been targeting three off-duty police officers who were in the club at the time.
4. (S) The lot numbers of some of the grenades recovered, including the grenade used in the attack on Televisa, indicate that previously ordnance with these same lot numbers may have been sold by the USG to the El Salvadoran military in the early 1990s via the Foreign Military Sales program. We would like to thank AmEmbassy San Salvador for its ongoing efforts to query the Government of El Salvador as whether any of its stocks of grenades and other munitions have been diverted or are otherwise unaccounted for.