MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Border Patrol agents found a rocket launcher, assault rifles and explosives in a bag along the Rio Grande river in Texas, the agency said on Wednesday, suggesting a link to Mexico’s drug wars.
Agents discovered the weapons on Tuesday on a quiet stretch of the Rio Grande near Fronton, a small community about 210 miles south of San Antonio. No arrests have been made.
“These deadly weapons could have had a devastating impact on communities on both sides of the border and to our agents and other law enforcement officers,” Rosendo Hinojosa, head of the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande valley, said in a statement.
Inside the black bag were a rocket launcher, grenade launcher, six assault rifles, 20 ammunition magazines for various weapons and three packages of what appeared to be C-4 plastic explosive, the statement said.
Mexican drug cartels often rely on grenades and assault rifles in an escalating battle among rival gangs and against security forces. More than 42,000 people have died in Mexico in drug-related violence since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on the traffickers.
Mexican officials have said the smuggling is driven by heavy demand for drugs among Americans and the bloodshed fueled by weapons brought across the border from the United States.
Edited by Cynthia Johnston and John O'Callaghan