Published April 30, 2011
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Mexican federal police said Saturday they discovered a basement arsenal hidden behind the mirrors of a home gym that included three anti-aircraft guns, dozens of grenades, a grenade launcher, AK-47s and other high-powered weapons.
The neatly ordered stockpile found in an upscale neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, also contained several makes of machine guns, rifles, a shotgun and more than 26,000 ammunition cartridges, according to Raul Avila Ibarra, the federal police commissioner in charge of the city.
Police say they discovered the weapons Friday while searching a house near the U.S.-Mexico border. Avila said the police acted on an anonymous tip that there were kidnapping victims in the house, but no one was found.
The mirrors of the gym opened at the touch of a button near the floor, allowing access to the secret shelter, which also held more than 50 military uniforms, as well as bulletproof vests and gas masks. Three money-counting machines were also found.
No one was detained in the search. The police didn't reveal the origin of the weapons found.
A turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels left more than 3,000 people dead last year in this city of 1.3 million people.
The weapons had been stored in a neatly painted room decorated with a framed still from the 1983 movie "Scarface" depicting Al Pacino, as drug kingpin Tony Montana, wielding a machine gun. A jumbo-sized dollar bill featuring Montana's face rested on a bookshelf lined with heavy weapon cartridges.