HomeNewsBriefMexico Gangs Use Social Networking Sites For Recruitment, Intelligence
BRIEF

Mexico Gangs Use Social Networking Sites For Recruitment, Intelligence

MEXICO / 31 MAY 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations have taken to the Internet to gather intelligence, intimidate the public, and find recruits, according to a report by the US anti-drug agency, presented at a recent security conference.

According to the AFP news service, a report by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said that drug cartels used social networking sites to spy on their recruits, obtaining information such the identities of their family members, to be used if they tried to desert.

El Universal reported that the agency said drug cartels recruit youths in the United States to work as spies, hitmen, and human smugglers, among other jobs.

In addition to recruiting and tracking personnel, the DEA report said groups like the Zetas employ “hackers” to find the personal information — addresses, phone numbers, even financial information — of potential targets for kidnapping and extortion, the AFP noted.

The DEA’s report was presented at a regional security conference in Cancun, Mexico, attended by representatives from 20 countries. The goal is to begin drafting a coordinated strategy to combat organized crime by the end of 2012, as agreed at the Cartagena Summit of the Americas.

Colombia’s national police chief, General Oscar Naranjo, told the conference, “Criminals take advantage of their international networks and connections, and we should take advantage of our superiority as governments,” according to the AFP.

InSight Crime Analysis

As the AFP notes, Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations have for some time used the Internet to intimidate their rivals with videos of gruesome executions. On its own, this does not represent a major threat; traffickers spread terror more effectively with mass killings and billboards, known as “narco-mantas,” which are far harder to ignore than an unpleasant video posted to the Internet.

However, if Mexico’s drug traffickers are indeed using social networks to recruit and spy on their members, as well as to research potential targets, this could afford them access to a new depth of information. In one recent example, the Zetas were able to track down and murder a contributor to a security blog in Nuevo Laredo, leaving a notice threatening others who used the Internet to report on crime (see image, above).

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 27 FEB 2015

The capture of yet another high-level target -- this time Servando Gomez, alias "La Tuta," the leader of the Knights…

BARRIO AZTECA / 2 OCT 2017

Authorities have blamed conflict over local drug markets for a bloody massacre at a drug treatment center in Mexico, the…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 12 NOV 2010

Gunmen armed with AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles and riding in a convoy that included at least ten…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…