back to article Notorious Mexican drug kingpin nabbed thanks to drones and spyware

An alleged leader of Mexico's infamous Los Zetas gang was captured last month using a combination of commercial computer spyware, GPS mobile tracking and aerial drones, according to Mexican reports. Miguel Treviño Morales – also known as “Z-40” – was captured by the North American country's marines on 15 July. The US Drug …

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Anonymous Coward

Can anyone shed any light on the "Hunter Punta Tracking/Locksys", I looked on both Google and Bing but all I can find is links to the same press release.

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Searching for "Locksys GPS" found a Chinese supplier of cheap GPS tracking devices. If the price was in the tens of millions then at least many hundreds of thousands of devices were involved. If GPS tracking were quietly installed in every Mexican military vehicle in a target area and this gang's membership included many members of the armed forces (as suggested in a number of articles) then that may be how they got the GPS onto "the gang's vehicle".

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Anonymous Coward

If "The war on drugs" was ended and legitimate companies were used to produce recreational drugs, distribute them through high street (possibly chemists) and tax them to fund education, very much like tobacco and alcohol, these nasty bastards would be put out of business over night.

Good riddance to him. The main problem I have with cocaine is the suppliers, it's hard to justify using a product that is supplied by the likes of these cartels.

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Anonymous Coward

But that would erode good Christian values. The cornerstone of civilization and free democracy.

USA! USA! USA!

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Anonymous Coward

I disagree, I'm a Christian and I think it's the only sensible, obvious way forward. Look at Portugal, a very Catholic country indeed and they've decriminalised, also the way that many south American countries are going is towards full legalisation, again all very Catholic.

What this is, is petty conservative values which see taking drugs as a bad thing (which it may well be) but not being able to admit that prohibition doesn't work and that it's leaving thousands of people dead in the countries where people produce and the countries where they use. Not to mention the ~25% of the US prison population being there for drugs offences.

Also it's certainly not just the USA, they may be the cheer leaders, but we in the UK have blame as well, as do many other countries.

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Anonymous Coward

"I disagree, I'm a Christian and I think it's the only sensible, obvious way forward."

Whoosh!

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Childcatcher

The war on drugs

If "The war on drugs" was ended...these nasty bastards would be put out of business over night.

It wouldn't happen overnight and it would not happen quietly. Organized crime has a long history of going where the money is. If it is no longer in drugs, it will be somewhere else. Prohibition The war on drugs just provided an entrance for these bastards. Certainly decriminalization of drug use will hurt them. It is important to follow up with increased pressure while they are short of cash flow.

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Silver badge

"What this is, is petty conservative values which see taking drugs as a bad thing (which it may well be) but not being able to admit that prohibition doesn't work and"

They'll be sipping, or glugging, their fine wines at home in front of the TV, oblivious to the fact they are abusing a far more damaging drug than those the police are confiscating from "criminals" on the tv show they are watching.

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Anonymous Coward

If by "Whoosh" you mean I've totally missed the point, could you enlighten me as to the point which you think I've missed?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The war on drugs

Decriminalisation won't hurt them as they'll still be the producers. Full legalisation will deal them a serious, probably fatal blow, though, as all of a sudden legitimate companies can produce pharma grade product.

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Uh...

@Nomnomnom

Alcohol more damaging than cocaine? Really?

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Re: Uh...

"Alcohol more damaging than cocaine? Really?"

According to one study yes if you factor in both the damage to the individual and to society. It found cocaine was close but not as harmful as alcohol. Other drugs like ecstacy and LSD were found to be greatly less harmful than alcohol (and yet they are class A and alcohol is legal...go figure).

One of reason alcohol is so damaging is that it makes a lot of people who take it aggressive and violent, aside from it's toxicity and longterm damage on the liver.

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Re: Uh...

"Alcohol more damaging than cocaine? Really?"

Yes, really. Alcohol is less addictive than cocaine, but scores equal or worse on a number of other factors:

- greater impairment when using it leads to a lot more accidents (especially traffic)

- greater tendency to violence when on alcohol

- similair ratio of 'mortal dose' to 'effective dose' (If I recall correctly from a Lancet study, around 8-10 X. heroin was as low as 4, pot practically infinite as no record ever in history of death *purely* from pot use)

- long-term effects on health are considerably worse especially liver

Also, because it IS legal it is abused far far more than any legal drugs.

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Thumb Up

Re: The war on drugs

Thumbs up.

Approx 100 years ago (and as recently as about 50 in the UK), heroin and cocaine were available over the counter at pharmacies and used recreationally. Because they were 'professionally' produced, the dosage was known, and it wasn't 'cut' with whatever poisons street dealers cut their shit with, people didn't die from ODs.

Someone like Bayer, Novartis etc could produce these drugs at a tiny fraction of the cost that street dealers do. The narcos have such a huge markup because of teh inherent danger / illegality. No illagality, no danger = no markup. And no huge profits = less money for guns and less incentive to use them. Also quite likely that pharma companies would still source their supply from the south / cenrtal American coca producers meaning the farmers there could really profit from their efforts instead of being held as serfs by the narcos.

There's already a well-understood and policed regime for controlling tobacco and alcohol, just use the same guidelines(loss of license for selling to minors etc), have educational campaigns about use and abuse and so on. I think that in this situation while teh number of drug USERS will rise, the number of drug ABUSERS will fall and crime levels will fall sharply.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The war on drugs @Robert Helpmann

Narcotraficante or entrepreneur? Mexico appears to be the libertarian paradise: weak government, fungible justice, low taxes, do as you please if you have the pesos.

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Anonymous Coward

"If by 'Whooh" you mean I've totally missed the point, could you enlighten me as to the point which you think I've missed?"

The entire joke? It's clearly a piss-take on right-wing, ultra conservative USAians. You know, the folks who think the world is only 6,000 years old etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Err... No, I understood that it was no the serious opinion of the poster, but it is such a commonly stated belief here that right-wind conservative Christian Americans are representatives of all Christians the world over, that I thought I'd point out that it's the "right-wing conservative" element which is the operative, rather than the Christian.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously, the whole "USA! USA! USA!" wasn't a dead give-away?

You do realise that not everything you read should be taken literally, don't you? ;-)

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FAIL

Re: The war on drugs @Robert Helpmann

Narcotraficante or entrepreneur? Mexico appears to be the libertarian paradise: weak government, fungible justice, low taxes, do as you please if you have the pesos.

Ah, taxes are high: 30% income tax and and extra 17.5% IETU tax (it snowballs on your income), 16% VAT on everything but food & meds. Of course, if you have the pesos, you can bribe your way out of taxes.

All the other stuff: weak government, fungible justice, yes, you're spot on. I'd add that we also have a couple of idiots in certain Mexican states pandering to the Catholic ultra rightist zealots; pro-lifer laws have been passed in a couple of those states which would land a woman far longer jail time than most narcos ever get.

My country is in dire need of heavy duty fixing...

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Anonymous Coward

> Look at Portugal, a very Catholic country indeed

Ahem... have you been to Portugal much?

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Anonymous Coward

>> Look at Portugal, a very Catholic country indeed

> Ahem... have you been to Portugal much?

Portugal - where men are priests and young boys are nervous?

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Anonymous Coward

Drones help capture drug kingpin

Therefore drones = good and should be accepted by the common peons as they are rolled out to common police forces to capture your local pushers. Soon to be followed by those who demonstrate in opposition to government policies, who exceed speed limits, who bring their kids to schools they shouldn't, who litter....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

So are you arguing that they shouldn't have used a drone to help capture this nasty mass murdering bastard, because you think that it's the thin end of the wedge? A drone is not good or bad, the use of one is what's in question, it's hardly going to end up with constant surveillance by the state, particularly because of the EU Human Rights act.

This is a many who allegedly boiled his victims alive, I don't care if they used Concorde and a flight of Pagasuses to get him, he needs to be in prison. (I'll throw in an "assuming he's guilty" as he deserves a fair trial, unlike his alleged victims.)

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Silver badge

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

Just wait until they manage to use a drone to track down an Internet Troll...

Ten "WHAT WILL GOVERNMENT DO???" daily mail headlines later. "Today the government announces new powers are to be given to the police. From 2015 police drones will be equipped with heat seeking missiles each capable of obliterating an entire herd of internet trolls"

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Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

"So are you arguing that they shouldn't have used a drone to help capture this nasty mass murdering bastard, because you think that it's the thin end of the wedge?"

First they came for the nasty mass murdering bastards, but I did not speak out because I was not a nasty mass murdering bastard...

I could continue but you get the point (if you don't here's the short version: you caused the holocaust)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

I long for the day when they come for the people who trivialise the holocaust, because I'll be there cheering.

The guy ran a personal army and slaughtered anyone in his way, yet you suggest that I'm going to cause the holocaust, because I don't see a problem with the use of an unmanned flying machine to catch him?

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Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

"It's hardly going to end up with constant surveillance by the state, particularly because of the EU Human Rights act".

I suggest that if you haven't already done so, you go to the Guardian newspaper website etc, and read up on the NSA section if you think this isn't already here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

As we all know, even mentioning the holocaust trivialises it. It doesn't matter that it's a well known example of a populace blindly allowing the state to do whatever the fuck it wants. No, it must be put on a pedestal and left alone because it's the single worst thing to have ever happened in human history.

Oh wait...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

Mentioning the holocaust is not trivialising it. We need to talk about it and remember. Suggesting that the German people knew it was happening and just allowed their state to do it suggests that you don't know much about it. The holocaust was not general knowledge, at the end of the was many many Germans were shocked and even thought that the newsreels were made up because they couldn't comprehend that it could have happened without them knowing.

Telling someone that they are the sort of person responsible for the holocaust because they don't have an issue with the use of an un-manned drone to arrest a really dangerous criminal, that's trivialising the holocaust.

Would it have been different if it were a manned helicopter? If so, what's the difference?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

Mentioning the holocaust is not trivialising it. We need to talk about it and remember.

I agree with this sentiment, and it is why I rarely agree when someone shouts "Godwin's Law!" on every single comparison. The point does seem to "Whoosh!" over most heads that the Holocaust was possible because of the firm grip the NSDAP had over the country. Nobody thought they were dangerous until it was too late to act against them. They started their power grab under "for your protection" emergency laws; remember what the Enabling Act was called? "Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat" or in English: Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State. Geeze, it sounds as corny as the Patriot Act, doesn't it?

The point is that those who want to do a power grab won't be obvious on it. They know an outright power grab will be noticed, so they'll go down the stealthy route. Beware of all-encompassing laws "for your protection".

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Terminator

Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

Surveillance with rules is OK, extra-judicial killings are bad. They captured this guy, and will try him.

The slope isn't slippery if we can keep the distinctions clear... I hope.

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Re: Drones help capture drug kingpin

" yet you suggest that I'm going to cause the holocaust"

Nah didn't mean too. I was hoping what I said was so absurd everyone would realize it wasn't serious. Didn't work. People thought I was making some serious point about surveillance!

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Silver badge

DEA lent tactical support in the form of aerial drones

That's because their top man Hank is out chasing Walt.

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Re: DEA lent tactical support in the form of aerial drones

You beat me to a Breaking Bad line!

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Z-40 caught, what about Z1-Z39, are they still on the run? Look out C3PO they'll be coming for you next.

That's the second lamest "handle" I've heard recently, the first being "Carlos Danger".

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Silver badge

That's why they are called Zetas, you know...

The name comes out from their callsign/codenames used over the radio. Z1, Z2, whatever (as the article mentions, they used to be former Mexican Federal Police or ex-Military) so they named their org like the one letter that identified them.

It takes a criminal organization to change a single letter from beloved (Zorro!) to feared.

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Anonymous Coward

That's good news

Catching this crim is good news. At least those involved didn't give away how they tracked him so they won't tip off other crims.

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FAIL

Hang on

So this guy was caught because his GPS was tracked with spyware, right ?

So, the NSA had nothing to do with it then, right ?

So, if the NSA is useless in catching this clearly dangerous type of criminal, and it served jack shit in capturing Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, then what on God's green Earth is all this "surveillance" good for ?

Catching Pirate Bay users ?

I mean come on, now is the time to tell us that the NSA can actually have a use for good. This would be the perfect opportunity to brush off some complaints and say "See ? We got this bastard because WE WERE LISTENING IN ON HIM ! Trust us now ?".

I still wouldn't trust them, but I'll be damned if this wasn't the perfect time to polish the image.

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P_0

Re: Hang on

The NSA would have been instrumental in finding the whereabouts of Bin Laden, given that the couriers who visited the target house and the man who supposedly lived there, were having their communications tapped. From the reports I read, this surveillence gave the circumstantial evidence to push Obama into going ahead with the mission to kill bin Laden.

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Re: Hang on

Outside the USA the DEA act a lot like the NSA/CIA. Only difference is 2. CIA/NSA do no arrest people, and when the kill they try not to have it linked back them.

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FAIL

Big deal

So they caught the leader. Now what?

Does anyone expect this gang will now have seen the error in their ways and go back to growing beans?

I would much rather believe that there will be a war amongst those looking for control of this share of the market that has been made available. Cue up some spectacular deaths from those trying to look serious.

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Remember practically all this violence and "illegal" activity is a direct consequence of keeping drugs such as Marijuana & cocaine illegal. It is complete insanity that so much time and money is wasted on trying to stop drug, production, distribution and use, when governments should be regulating and taxing this current underground economy.

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Anonymous Coward

Z-40

Pah ! Friends know me as WD-40 for my penetrating power!

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The arms companies must be pleased - such a massive expense to catch one man...

...can anyone explain by how much this will reduce drug usage worldwide? 20% - 30%? - LOL!

It will make no difference at all.

Now we can see why the arms industries want to keep drugs illegal - since the cold war shut down they had to find a new market. At what the arms companies want they tend to get cos we don't have enough politicians with the balls to stand up to them.

Catching this one man will make no difference to the illegal drug trade - and the arms companies will be able to sell yet more kit to catch whoever takes his place.

The sooner the prohibition on all drugs is removed the sooner this world will be a saner place.

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Remember

If the consumption of chips was banned in an effort to control obesity, you can bet exactly this sort of effort would be employed against illegal potato traffickers. (While obesity skyrocketed.)

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