Originally Posted by SR
They were almost certainly military. It would be extremely brazen for a group of criminals dressed in military outfits in military vehicles to be out in broad daylight, that should give it away right there. I haven't heard of narcos dressed like military in a couple of years.
Narcos are really toning down their look lately, but generally country narcos dress like country boys but more flashy, with silk shirts and gold jewelry. Identification mostly has to do with age. It is one thing to see 60 year old Don Ranch Owner come to town in an Escalade wearing a 18K gold watch. It is something else to see four 20 year olds doing it. City narcos are harder to classify, the just look like common dirt-bags to me.
Private security guards usually have a clean cut look and dress like Johnny Cash. They almost always drive late model white vehicles, Tahoes or Dodge trucks. These vehicles are commonly made bullet proof. You likely wont see a convoy of these vehicles out in the country, just in the city. These are things you will pick up on with some time in Mexico.
Like SR said.
If they have white vehicles, even 1 or 2 in a convoy, they are probably NOT official military or police unless (drum roll here) they are undercover.
There are plenty of subtleties with "real" military vehicles and weapons too. I doubt if you will ever see an AK in the hands of the military although certain police might carry them. Mexico uses a variety of rifles but they usually keep the guys with H&K G3's together and the guys with other rifles together so they can share ammo (the G3's fire .30 and just about everything else that they carry fires .223).
But bottom line is like SR said - the cartels using fake uniforms en masse and holding towns and roads hasn't happened for a year or two. They were doing that along Rt. 2 between Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo when I left McAllen but that was over a year ago.
Right now, unless you are in a really rural and contested area, you'd have to be pretty unlucky to encounter a cartel road block. And even if you do you can be pretty sure they aren't looking for you, so just be respectful and the overwhelming odds are they will let you through.
Do the regulars agree or disagree?