Mexican Gun Bling – Expensive but Tasteless

We’ve known some Mexicans that were really stylish people. Guys who could rock an Armani suit, gals whose makeup made them “pop” in a room full of beautiful people. And then, most Mexicans, like most Americans or people of any other nationality, have average looks and taste.

But cartel honchos, and their indisciplined, spoiled kids, don’t rise to the level of average taste.

Case in point: “El Chino Antrax” and his tastelessly adorned AK:


El Chino Antrax is a marginally-literate Mexican named José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa, or maybe José Rodrigo Aré-chinga-tu-madre Gamboa. Aré-chinga-tu-madre is in US custody and is pending sentencing for drug traffficking. After a plea deal, he’s expected to get a very light $1M fine and 10 year sentence.

We’re not sure what the H on his buckle is for. Homo, maybe. Maybe not. It would run contrary to the stereotype that gay men have sublime fashion sense, wouldn’t it? But look at the way he’s holding his left pinkie on the AK. NTTAWWT.

What explains the short sentence? Wonder if his lawyers, or the prosecutors, are now trying to figure out how to get a lot of gold plating off a contraband AK and bring the gold to Fast Eddie’s Pawn, where the sign might as well say We Buy Jewelry From Burglars? More likely, the sentence discount is a payoff for snitching. Most of these soi-disant tough guys roll over like a puppy when the cell door closes behind ’em.

That’s a full-auto AKMS, by the way, not something El Chino or his purblind platesmith got from a legit American gun store. The giveaway is the third pin near the bottom end of the safety/selector travel, see it?

Of course, because these are Mexican cartel goons, the bad taste could be that of their main weapons suppliers, the US Attorney’s Office of Arizona and the Phoenix SAC of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Then, there’s the custom Glocks of El Chapo Guzmán’s sons, we think Ivan. These are less tasteless (and more practical) than Aréchinga’s AK.


The white snakeskin camo one is gaudy, but not tasteless in the El Chino/Saddam Hussein vein. ZEV II slides and trigger in the black gun are made in California and popular with competitors here, and with cartel goons there. The barrel of  the black gun bay be a ZEV bronze-finished one, also.

We pulled these from a story on cartel watches at, and you may be assured that their taste in watches is quite as nouveau riche and crude as their taste in firearms decoration.

Exercise for the reader: have a few drinks with a genuine-from-Spain Spaniard. Ask what he or she thinks of Mexicans. Your part of the conversation will be over for a while. (Tentative conclusion: they haven’t met some of the classy Mexicans we have, the ones we mentioned at the start of the post. Maybe they met cartel goons).


24 thoughts on “Mexican Gun Bling – Expensive but Tasteless

  1. Docduracoat

    I am pleased to see that you referenced
    They are doing some very interesting work on translating Russian soldiers’ posting on Russian language Facebook about their experiences fighting in Donbass region of Ukraine. These guys have no operational security at all.
    Do our soldiers post stuff like this?
    Their work on automatically finding gun postings on social media is fascinating
    Who knew you could read a federal indictment, and do a geo locating twitter search about a gang name and find gang members posting about their weapons and crimes?
    It is amazing what is available on open source intelligence on the net!

    1. Kirk

      Spent the last five years of my career working Brigade-level Operations and S2 functions. As NCOIC of the S2, I had to put together a monitoring effort to track what people were putting up on MySpace and FaceBook.

      You would not believe the crap some of these kids put up, without thinking about either how it would look to an employer, or as to whether or not it was something that violated OPSEC. That story about how FaceBook is actually a CIA front to condition people to forget privacy? Yeah, you’d need about thirty seconds of work to convince me it was true, because it is truly incredible how much crap the average person puts up there. And, the younger, the more crap they’re used to putting up.

      I don’t know if it is my natural reticence, or the era I grew up in, but none of that shit seems to me to be either wise or worth sharing. But, they all do it. The only ones I found who still had a sense of privacy were the older folks, and the kids who grew up in religious homes. Others? No shame, no boundaries.

      There is a bunch of weirdness with the younger kids I just don’t get–My favorite bit of “WTF??? Really?” is the situation surrounding the bathing facilities we had on a pre-deployment exercise. All these younger women in the HHC were complaining about the gang-style latrines in the old WWII barracks we were staying in, and were adamant that it was inhumane and insufferable that they had to share a narrow shower with other women. OK, I can buy that… But…

      Cue me having to implement that OPSEC implementation, having to check their FaceBook BS and MySpace (which was still a “thing”, back then…). What do I find? Copious amounts of flash shots from the girls trip to New Orleans, and them doing what they do to collect beads… One girl had up a shot that damn near amounted to full frontal nudity. So, I’m now in the awkward position of a.) having to call them in, and b.) explain why this was inappropriate crap to have up on the Internet. Oh, wow… It was like talking to bunch of blind people about color, and what things look like to the sighted. One girl was outraged I was “…looking at her tits, like some kind of dirty old man…”. The rest just didn’t get it, and were completely mystified with my question about how it was they objected to sharing a gang-style shower with other women, and yet… Were posting pictures like the ones I’d found on their web pages. And, understand this: They’d been told to turn those addresses in to me for review, so they knew it was coming…

      Ever get the feeling you’re an alien, in your own country? Yeah…

    2. Hognose Post author

      Without going into detail I can say conclusively that professional intelligence agencies of every country with a competent intelligence agency (which is a lot more than you would think) have long known about and exploited OSINT.

      That doesn’t mean the non-governmental OSINT outfits don’t develop entirely new techniques all the time.

      Just look at what comes out in indictments. In 20 years, we went from the FBI not knowing ROM from RAM to the FBI running darknet honeypot stings.

  2. Trone Abeetin

    read the watch article. I was shocked that I didn’t see a Royal Oak or any Panerai. I knew some folks in jewelry, they called the Royal Oak, the Royal Joke.

  3. Tim, '80s Mech Guy

    You did something different with the pics on this one? All i got is a little square where the narcobling is supposed to be. Article before and after are g2g.

        1. Somerbiwak

          Then I am not the only one seeing no pics of narco bling. Phew. So it is not my end of the line.

  4. Mike_C

    >have a few drinks with a genuine-from-Spain Spaniard. Ask what he or she thinks of Mexicans.
    Haha! Indeed. And if you’re brave and stupid enough to toss accelerant on the fire, ask your Spaniard how they like being “Latino/Latina” instead of “white” — but wear your helmet. Or better yet, full-on MOPP gear.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I have a friend whose parents are from Spain. He is a sworn officer with NYPD. According to the NYPD, he is not Hispanic or Latino, neither is his mom or pop, neither is King Juan Carlos.

      1. Mike_C

        Agreed re King Juan Carlos. And re a dear friend of mine from La Mancha. I happened to be talking with her one day when some hapless HR-type person wandered up and informed her that she was officially “a Latina.” The consequent verbal fireworks were a thing of wonder and awe.

        I’m a bit (positively) surprised about the NYPD thing though – our HR drone apparently classified my friend purely on the basis of surname; I don’t know your friend’s surname (obviously) but that they made the distinction is very interesting. Incidentally, I know of at least one other woman carried on the rolls as “Hispanic” despite the fact that she acquired her surname as a result of marriage. The woman herself is about as Irish as one can get, ancestry-wise.

      2. Trone Abeetin

        Well, he couldn’t be “Latino” because that’s short for “Latin American”.
        And Spaniards are nothing but white Europeans. Sorta like Italians or Portuguese.

        Why he is not considered “Hispanic” is beyond me, prolly the white European thing that blinds them.

  5. Jonathan Ferguson

    Minor detail, but that’s a Type 56-1, not a true AKMS. Hey, it mattered to Mikhail…

    PS the images are dead, but the link to the original Bellingcat article still works.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Thanks, Jonathan. I had to do that with the images because I’d run my machine out of RAM. I will go back and insert ’em from disk…

  6. Boat Guy

    In my current work I see a LOT of cartel bling. Cars, cats (BIG ones), horses jewelry and the only time there’s a hint of a clue at class are the horses. These guys make Saddam’s stuff seem classy.

  7. John D

    Well, I had a few drinks.

    Couldn’t find a Spaniard.

    So, had a few more drinks,

    And damn if those cartel guns weren’t looking half-bad!

      1. John D


        Growing up near the border, have lots of experience with the old bullfighter lever-locks, and

        the embellished nickle silver 1911 grips, so have an ingrained “appreciation” for such stuff.

Comments are closed.