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).

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 28 JAN 2021

Nineteen people shot and burned in a Mexico border state near Texas is a macabre reminder that migrants being smuggled…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 19 MAY 2022

Cocaine processing has taken root on European soil, Mexican and Dutch synthetic drug traffickers have partnered up, and a new…

COCAINE / 8 NOV 2021

Cocaine, synthetic drugs, weapons, migrants, gasoline - this range of criminal economies has seen violence escalate in Mexico's northern state…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…