back to article Anonymous threatens Mexican drug cartel

The Mexican branch of Anonymous have threatened to expose members of Los Zetas unless the drug cartel releases a kidnapped member of the hacking collective. In an ultimatum posted on YouTube, Anonymous threatens to publish data on cartel members and affiliates in Veracruz unless an unnamed male victim is freed by 5 November. …


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  1. L1feless

    Good for them

    Look at what these animals have done. (No I am not referring to anon) It has come to a point where it clearly looks like that authorities in Mexico aren't capable of policing their own country. If I was the USA (nudge nudge Obama) I'd be a little bit more concerned about what is going on down south. I hope Anon releases the detail of these guys. What they need to do is also release a data dump of their operations.

  2. jubtastic1

    The times, they are a changing

    Seems like every day one story suggests the world is sliding into anarchy while another story documents the lock step towards big brother. Hard to believe this feedback cycle is going to end well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The US IS concerned about what's going on in Mexico, but there's very little we can do about it. Our government's (as opposed to the people's) normal solution would be to go in guns blazing and restore order regardless of what the Mexican government wants, but given that there're more Mexicans living here than US servicemen irritating Mexico in that way is even more ill advised than irritating the entire Middle East.

  3. JDX Gold badge

    Can't be trusted

    Anon will release the data whatever happens.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Zetas..

    The Zetas are well known for their sense of humour, so there's probably nothing to worry about.

    Ooops.. I meant to type that the Zetas are well known for their batshit insane violence, so there's probably everything to worry about.

  5. DragonKin37

    Biting off more than they can chew

    Messing with goverments can end you up in jail. Messing with Narco cartels will end you up 6 feet under. My worry is the Zetas will release their boy in 5 different peices. This is ballsy but El Reg put them on the spot by mentioning the Mexican Branch of Anonymous, not cool.

  6. Tasogare

    I'm inclined to back them here.

    A more deserving target is hard to think of, and the usual argument against such things -- that it would interfere with legitimate prosecution -- doesn't seem to apply given corruption of the local officials. They're doing what they can to protect their own with the weapons available. More power to them.

    The risk of reprisals is something else, but you can't hold Anonymous responsible for it, in the same way you can't hold the police or military responsible for murder when they refuse to bow to the demands of hostage-takers. Moral culpability falls on the bastards who commit such atrocities.

    I'm not always a fan of Anon's actions but I think I'm rooting for them here.


    Not anon. Perhaps unwisely.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Judging by previous reports from these types of drug thugs, sadly I think that's a certainty. These types don't value human life in any way, shape or form.

    2. Is it me?

      Yeah, he's dead.

      And they had better hope they really are Anonymous, and he didn't know who his fellow hackers were, as you can bet he was tortured before being killed.

      I would be very afraid, if I were his friends and family as to just who he might have fingered as an associate.

      1. Tom 13

        While I concur with your sentiments,

        I'm not sure you can get much more afraid than they were BEFORE this came out. It's bad, bad, bad, down there, and Operation Fast and Furious didn't help matters any.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yep... sounds like the Zetas are ex-military thugs starting an arms race among the warring narco gangs and it's only a matter of time before the shituation eclipses Afghanistan and spills over into the US. Anyone paying attention to the news could see this coming at least 1-2 years ago, and I believe the Pentagon brass have spoken about it publicly.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Get "fast and furious" Holder on the blower!

      "Messing with goverments can end you up in jail."

      Except if you are the drone end of a "presidential finding" or a SWAT call gone bad or maybe a entrapment operation in which you are the collateral damage.

      Also Mexico - how about liberalizing your gun laws? What's that?? Too many disgruntled campesinos??? Yeah, maybe not then. Real power pyramids don't want to be endangered.

      1. Trainee grumpy old ****

        RE: Also Mexico - how about liberalizing your gun laws

        How about getting to the root of the problem and the US solving its drugs problem?

        Where is the flying pigs / hell freezing over icon when you want one?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your support means a lot to us. Thanks.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given their choice of action I would hope they have high confidence in their level of anonymity as their compatriot is likely to be returned piece by piece but only after divulging everything they know - these people don't tend to dick around.

  7. Mondo the Magnificent

    So, is this a good thing?

    Anonymous are now playing with fire. This kind of reaction to the kidnapping wont deter the drug cartels, they've shown just how ruthless they can be.

    If this 'protester' is released, who's to say Anonymous still won't release these details. If the details are released, rest assured the Los Zetas will react with bloodshed.

    I admire Anonymous' loyalty to their kidnapped cadre, but I ask just how many other lives are at stake here?

    Sadly this goes well beyond just naming and shaming..

    1. Semaj
      Thumb Up

      Intentional Saint's Row Reference?

      "_the_ Los Zetas"

      You're right though, they gonna get burned.

  8. Fogcat

    My prediction is that this is going to end very very badly. My impression backed up to a large extent from my Mexican friends is that the cartels really don't care what anyone thinks, the identities of the leaders are pretty well known anyway and the low level, taxi drivers, security guards etc..really don't have any choice about aiding and abetting, not if they want their families to stay alive.

    So I think the chances of Zeta taking the threat seriously are nil and it may just annoy them to the detriment of the Anon captive and any others who happen to be nearby.

    Yes a stand.... but one that I think (although I hope not) will have very unpleasant consequences.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "My prediction is that this is going to end very very badly."

      Mexico has already ended badly; there is no government and no law. What other choices do the people have, exactly?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Way to get the guy killed

    If they weren't going to kill him before they probably will now just as an F you to anonymous.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. The Jase

    These are people who are very willing to turn up at your front door and make you dead.

    Its not fun and games on the internet anymore when you have a very real bullet in your chest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could say the same thing about threatening the US government...

    2. Tasogare

      If anything that's a reason to respect the move. They're inviting a much more concrete risk than website defacement. Assuming they're aware and accepting of that (maybe not the best assumption?) then it's a courageous act, if not necessarily a bright one.

      Someone elsethread pointed out that naming and shaming may not be much of a threat to these people. I hope they have more up their sleeves.

  12. BrendHart

    A bunch of script kiddies vs. A psychotic drug gang know for vicious public displays of violence?

    I don't know whether to respect them for trying to make a stand against these maniacs and somehow improve the situation or write them off as insane.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is simply only one answer...

    ...and that is to legalise drugs.

    The cannabis trade through Mexico turns over six billion a year. Because it is illegal then it's only criminals who can get involved - and criminals can't use the courts to settle their disputes.

    At least the USA is starting to de-criminalise cannabis by the back door - so-called medicinal use -

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Legality != Beneficial

      Guns are legal in the US of A, yes? Enjoying the murder rate, are you?

      1. sisk Silver badge

        "Guns are legal in the US of A, yes? Enjoying the murder rate, are you?"

        Depending on the studies you look at the legality of guns may not have any impact on the murder rate (yes, I know that's a big MAY). At any rate our murder rate isn't as high as a lot of the rest of the world seems to think. Here, for instance, there have been a grand total of two murders in the last five years, and that's if you count the guy who shot a burgler in self defense (which, by the way, is the only killing in this area since I've been old enough to care about the news that actually involved a gun. The rest have all been stabbings or blunt insturments).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Total hides other numbers

          It's true, when you look deeper at the numbers, firearms themselves are less of a factor than the absolute numbers suggests. For example, may deaths by firearm are suicides. Then, a large percentage of victims of murder by firearm have criminal records. (That doesn't mean they deserved it, but that for those involved in criminal activity the firearm (or those pesky bullets) isn't necessarily the _cause_ of the murder but simply a weapon of choice.)

          Although, I still think having lots of guns around is a pretty silly thing to do.

          - 2007 deaths in the USA by firearm: over 31,000, over 56% were suicides and 40% were homicides.

          - 2009 deaths in the USA in road traffic accidents: 33,808 (including 4,092 pedestrians). That's a modern historic low..

          I live in a low crime area (packages-left-on-your-doorstep-don't-get-stolen low) but there have been 2 unnatural deaths in the apartment building opposite me since I've lived there. One was a murder and the other a fire.

          1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

            Guns Are Illegal, Yet...

            ...40,000 people killed in Mexico by the war on drugs.

            It is USA pot prohibition that creates the multi billion dollar marketplace.

            Just to keep this in perspective, 225,000 AMerkins die annually due to physician errors, drug side effects, hospital infections, etc.

            1. sisk Silver badge

              Something else to keep in mind: guns are legal in the US because our founding fathers felt that an armed populace was vital for a just society. Basically the idea is that if we need to we can overthrow our own government by force. In practice any such attempt would get smacked down, hard, but that's why guns are legal here. To paraphrase one of the founding fathers, the second amendment will be completely useless until they try to take it away.

      2. Hnelson
        Big Brother

        The UK is following Orwell's playbook

        The murder rate is not has high as it is in the UK, how's that surveillance society working out for you?

    2. Disco-Legend-Zeke


      ...when they tried it for alcohol the end result was the creation of murderous gangs.

      What ever made the government think it would come out better for any other drug?

  14. cloudgazer

    Ok, crazed drug lords aside - what this video really shows is that Anon need to hire Hugo Weaving to do their videos - nobody wears a Guy Fawkes mask like that guy.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what they are missing

    Is that if they haven't demanded a ransom, the kidnapped guy is dead. They don't keep people alive for more than a few days.

    This is all so stupid, they are gonna get people hurt. Real people.

    1. Tom 13

      Real people are already getting hurt.

      I don't see a real answer anywhere on the horizon.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor leverage

    "The hackers threaten to expose journalists, taxi drivers and corrupt cops that have collaborated with the cartel."

    Unfortunately, I don't that the Zetas give a damn if the "journalists, taxi drivers and corrupt cops" are exposed.

  17. Big Al


    If the threat is acted on, there will literally be blood on the streets - the Zetas have been hit hard by the Mexican government this year, but are still highly dangerous, as are their rival cartels, who would doubtless be interested to know who's been working against them.

    So both those 'outed' and those doing the outing will be endangered - the Zetas have acquired the services of hackers in the past, after all, and have absolutely no restraint when it comes to removing those who annoy them.

  18. BinaryFu

    Poor leverage?

    I don't know...publicly outing cops, journalists and taxi drivers who've worked with them means the police will have a LONG list of "Persons of interest" to get information from - and when the drug cartel starts randomly killing everyone they can on that list, you can bet your bottom dollar those still alive will be pounding on the polices' doors begging for protection in exchange for information.

    Apparently Anonymous thinks more moves ahead than the average El Reg reader...pity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "you can bet your bottom dollar those still alive will be pounding on the polices' doors begging for protection in exchange for information"

      You make the assumption that there is anyone willing and able to protect them. If there were, why would Anonymous need to resort to this tactic?

  19. Peladon

    Sadly, I can....

    ... say this easily.

    I am not, to the best of my knowledge, personally likely to suffer retaliation for any expressed view.

    Even more sadly, there is indeed logic to the view that Anonymous should keep their keyboard fingers to themselves and their mouths shut. It is logical, it is reasonable, and it is an excellent way of ensuring that those who do not just threaten but are seen to inflict violence and fatality take ownership of their society.

    It is a logic that has been ignored by those who, in any specific situation, will inevitably be called freedom or resistance fighters by those with one view, and terrorists or criminals by those with another.

    I do not express, condone or support either name in this specific case, or in respect of Anonymous in general. I do, however, remember Edmund Bourke. Not the somewhat disputed matter of evil, and it's victory through the inaction of those good (though that would be valid), but more:

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

    Of course, once more, the definition of 'good' seems to depend more on both the face of the coin set uppermost, and the hands giving and receiving that very coin more than any absolute reckoning.

    1. Peladon

      Yes, it was...

      ... Edmund Burke, not Edmund Bourke. Yes, sometimes I type too fast. And yes, more often people just wish I wouldn't type at all :-P :-).

  20. Lars Silver badge


    It is better not to scare the mob as they are dangerous, play nice and let them rule,

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      @ Lars

      I didn't say that

      What I did say that tying action to the release of a hostage (assuming he is still a hostage and not already in a hole in the ground) will just cause the Zetas to torture the Hell out of the hostage, and then go after every hacker the hostage names.

      If the hacker is not returned alive in the normal course of events, better for Anonymous to go after the Zetas, name whatever names they can (I bet that only the low-mid level names will be in any danger of getting picked up) and not link it to the release of this hostage hacker, or even acknowledge that they know him.

      There's going after evil in an intelligent manner, and there is gratuitously pissing off some very ruthless people. The second version gets you and maybe your friends and families killed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it stops you and your family being brutally murdered, then yes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already called off.

    Oooh er, El Reg got late to this news. It seems that Anonymous read the intel reports concluding that said list would basically be a real-life Death Note, which if said list had false positives it would bring a lot of innocent people to an untimely death.

    Also, some people over here have also concluded that the Zetas would then mow down anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Shitty indeed.

    Anon for VERY obvious reasons.

  22. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    While I support taking the Zetas down a few dozen pegs....

    This is not a great idea. The Zetas are not going to cave to Anonymous. If they do then other similar pressure groups and rival gangs will come after them, or start posting on the internet "Hey, give us our son back or we have hired Anonymous/other hacking org to come after you."

    The Zetas really are the guys that Sean Connery was talking about in "The Untouchables", when he talked about the "Chicago Way", where to beat them you have to send one of theirs to the morgue on a very frequent basis. The only other way you get the Zetas is through a hard-core campaign of serious elite law-enforcement raids backed by good intelligence (hardly the people that Anonymous has good relations with) , or just wait until some alliance of equally vicious gangs or violent splits within the Zetas kills off the gang.

    Until then, the Zetas will either ignore this threat, or they will torture the crap out of the Anonymous hacker they have and bury anybody he names.

    1. menthols

      That would likely be the Chapos in the Gulf region that will benefit from this.

  23. chris lively

    Won't end well

    I applaud anyone that stands up to tyranny. Although I'm not normally an anonymous fan, I hope this represents a new direction for that group as it is a much more prevalent social problem than simply arguing with a few cultists.

    However, this won't end well. Their friend will most likely be brutally killed, if he isn't dead already. And then they will go after his friends/family; I hope they go into hiding.

    One thing I've been angry with the Mexican government about is that they allowed this situation to come forth. IMHO, they should invite the UN to come in and clean up. It's not an easy problem but the first step has to be in completely stopping the cartels.

    The "help" that the US government has provided hasn't worked and in many cases, as normal for the US, has backfired.

    Let the UN roll in, bomb the cartels to the stoneage then go after every single one of those "enforcers". The problem is so pervasive that the Mexican people can't do it themselves and they really need outside assistance. Obviously, this is going to require the Mexican government to come to terms with the fact that they have lost all real control and ask for someone else to step in; which none of them would like to admit.

  24. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The Economist...

    has run editorials along the lines of "we've given prohibition a fair crack of the whip for decades and it is plain to anyone with eyes that it ain't working".

    As one Mexican public figure put it: "It is our misfortune to neighbour the world's largest importer of narcotics and the world's largest exporter of arms"


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