Mexican Drug Wars Fought in Cyberspace

Gangs use Web to recruit, plan, and intimidate rivals; cops are clueless
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2007 4:41 PM CDT
Members of the Mexican Federal Police on anti-narcotics patrol.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Mexican drug cartels are making themselves at home on YouTube, posting music  videos that show off the bloodied bodies of their tortured and executed competitors. The gangs have turned to the Internet to recruit members, plan attacks, and intimidate and threaten rival gangs. The result is an al-Qaeda–like virtual network that the tech-lite Mexican police have been slow to tap for information.

"Mexican law enforcement is ill-equipped to deal with this," says an analyst at Stratfor, a private intelligence firm. "In the U.S., posting videos like that would be plain crazy—U.S. law enforcement has guys who do nothing but surf the Internet. But in Mexico, they can get away with it. It shows these cartels are untouchable."