1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Mexican army troops have dismantled a sophisticated communications network, believed to have been operated by the Zetas drug gang to conduct internal communications and monitor the movements of the security forces.

    A statement from the Defense Department (SEDENA) said that military personnel dismantled the network in the northern border states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas following a 12-month operation.

    Although the statement did not give the name of the drug cartel operating the network, the Zetas have extensive operations in these areas.

    The military confiscated more than 1,400 radios, 2,600 cell phones and computer equipment during the operation, as well as power supplies including solar panels, according the Defense Department.

    The equipment was found in rural, sparsely populated areas of the four states. According a military source, the antennas were painted green to blend in with the surroundings.

    Officials claim that the dismantling of the communications network will be a blow to the gang that operated it, leaving them without any means of gathering information on the location of the security forces.

    In November, the Defense Department announced that the army had dismantled a $350,000 radio communications network, allegedly operated by the Zetas in Coahuila state.

    Written by Ronan Graham
    Friday, 02 December 2011


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Here is a (google) translation of the Mexican press release:

    Monterrey, NL, December 1, 2011.

    Military personnel dismantled clandestine radio networks.

    The Ministry of National Defense, through the Commander of the Fourth Military Region, informs the public that as a result of operations for the dismantling of Clandestine Radio Networks implemented by 6 / a., 7 / a., 8 / a. and 12 / a. Military Zones, in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi, in addition to the fight against drug trafficking front and Organized Crime and in compliance with the directives of the President and the High Command of the Army and Air Force in "Operation Northeast", troops Territorial jurisdiction in this command, detect, dismantle and secured the following communication systems:

    6 / a. MILITARY ZONE (Saltillo.)

    ANTENNAS 51.
    43 REPEATER S.
    RADIOS 172.
    34 PHONES.
    22 Nextel.
    9 computer equipment.


    ANTENNAS 38.
    29 REPEATER S.
    18 power supply.
    RADIOS 418.
    CELL 736.
    673 Nextel.
    42 computer equipment.

    8 / a. MILITARY ZONE (Cd Reynosa, Tamaulipas.)

    ANTENNAS 76.
    REPEATER 81 S.
    RADIOS 655.
    CELL 401.
    391 Nextel.
    19 computer equipment.


    2 antennas.
    2 repeaters.
    6 sources of power.
    RADIOS 201.
    CELL 135.
    268 Nextel.
    1 computer equipment.

    Having identified, dismantled and secured a total of:

    ANTENNAS 167.
    REPEATER 155 S.
    166 power supply.
    RADIOS 1.446.
    CELL 1.306.
    1.354 Nextel.
    71 computer equipment.

    This allowed in many cases affect and disrupt communications networks used by organized crime to be unusable and prevent immediate communication, resulting in the securing of members of criminal groups, armament, tactical equipment and vehicles, the system lacking allowed to know the movements and location of military personnel, to hide or to flee without being stopped.

    The insured has been made ​​available to the authorities.

    With these actions, the military personnel that integrates the "Operation Northeast", continues to fight criminal organizations at all levels in both urban and rural areas, endorsing its commitment to bring the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that society demands and deserves .

    We appreciate the cooperation of the public for their support in denouncing totally anonymous and confidential, criminal acts that help to capture members of organized crime to phone numbers and emails below:
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Mexican Army Dismantles Gang's Antennas, Radios

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican army troops dismantled a telecommunications system set up by organized crime in four northern states, authorities said Thursday.

    The Defense Department said soldiers confiscated 167 antennas and 166 power supplies that gang members used to communicate among themselves and to monitor military movements.

    The operation also netted more than 1,400 radios and 2,600 cellphones in the border states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila and in the state of San Luis Potosi, a statement said.

    The army hasn't said which cartel was affected.

    During the summer, Mexico's navy dismantled a communication system used by the Zetas cartel in the Gulf state of Veracruz. The Zetas have a strong presence in all four of the states involved in the army's operation.

    Elsewhere, soldiers confiscated more than a ton of marijuana hidden in a tractor trailer at one of the international bridges at Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. The army arrested the driver.

    Also on Thursday, the U.S. government delivered inspection technology and a surveillance plane to help Mexico's navy fight drug cartels.

    The equipment is part of the Merida Initiative, a program for which the U.S. government has spent $1.4 billion since 2008 in helping Mexico and Central American nations counter drug trafficking.

    MEXICO CITY December 1, 2011

  3. Terrapinzflyer
    [IMGL="white"]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=23812&stc=1&d=1325000889[/IMGL]Mexico's cartels build own national radio system

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — When convoys of soldiers or federal police move through the scrubland of northern Mexico, the Zetas drug cartel knows they are coming.
    The alert goes out from a taxi driver or a street vendor, equipped with a high-end handheld radio and paid to work as a lookout known as a "halcon," or hawk.

    The radio signal travels deep into the arid countryside, hours by foot from the nearest road. There, the 8-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) dark-green branches of the rockrose bush conceal a radio tower painted to match. A cable buried in the dirt draws power from a solar panel. A signal-boosting repeater relays the message along a network of powerful antennas and other repeaters that stretch hundreds of miles (kilometers) across Mexico, a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency.

    The Mexican army and marines have begun attacking the system, seizing hundreds of pieces of communications equipment in at least three operations since September that offer a firsthand look at a surprisingly far-ranging and sophisticated infrastructure.

    Current and former U.S. law-enforcement officials say the equipment, ranging from professional-grade towers to handheld radios, was part of a single network that until recently extended from the U.S. border down eastern Mexico's Gulf coast and into Guatemala.

    The network allowed Zetas operatives to conduct encrypted conversations without depending on the official cellphone network, which is relatively easy for authorities to tap into, and in many cases does not reach deep into the Mexican countryside.
    "They're doing what any sensible military unit would do," said Robert Killebrew, a retired U.S. Army colonel who has studied the Mexican drug cartels for the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. "They're branching out into as many forms of communications as possible."

    The Mexican army said on Dec. 4 that it had seized a total of at least 167 antennas, 155 repeaters, 166 power sources, 71 pieces of computer equipment and 1,446 radios. The equipment has been taken down in several cities in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and the northern states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas.

    The network was built around 2006 by the Gulf cartel, a narcotics-trafficking gang that employed a group of enforcers known as the Zetas, who had defected from Mexican army special forces. The Zetas split from the Gulf cartel in 2010 and have since become one of the nation's most dominant drug cartels, with profitable sidelines in kidnapping, extortion and human trafficking.

    The network's mastermind was Jose Luis Del Toro Estrada, a communications expert known as Tecnico who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine in federal court in Houston, Texas, two years ago.

    Using millions of dollars worth of legally available equipment, Del Toro established the system in most of Mexico's 31 states and parts of northern Guatemala under the orders of the top leaders in the Gulf cartel and the Zetas. The Gulf cartel boss in each drug-smuggling territory, or plaza, was responsible for buying towers and repeaters as well as equipping his underlings with radios, according to Del Toro's plea agreement.

    [IMGR="white"]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=23813&stc=1&d=1325000889[/IMGR]Del Toro employed communications specialists to maintain and run the system and research new technology, according to the agreement.

    Mexican authorities, however, presented a different picture of the cartel radio infrastructure, saying it was less monolithic than the one described by U.S. authorities. A Mexican military official denied that the army and navy have been targeting one network that covered the entire Gulf coast. The operations had been focused on a series of smaller, local systems that were not connected to each other due to technical limitations, he said.
    "It's not a single network," the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic. "They use it to act locally."

    In recent years, reporters traveling with the Mexican military have heard cartels using radio equipment to broadcast threats on soldiers' frequencies. The military official told the AP that the signals are now encrypted, but cartels are still trying to break in.

    At least until recently, the cartel's system was controlled by computers that enabled complex control of the radio signals, allowing the cartel to direct its communications to specific radios while bypassing others, according to Grupo Savant, an intelligence and security consulting firm in Washington that has firsthand knowledge of Mexico's cartel operations.

    The radio system appears to be a "low-cost, highly extendable and maintainable network" that shows the Zetas' sophistication, said Gordon Housworth, managing director of Intellectual Capital Group, LLC, a risk- and technology-consulting firm that has studied the structure and operations of Mexican cartels and criminal groups.

    Other Mexican criminal organizations maintain similar radio networks, including the Sinaloa cartel, based in the Pacific coast state of the same name, and the Barrios Azteca street gang, which operates in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, a U.S. law-enforcement official said. The Zetas' system is the largest, however, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

    The Mexican raids are "a deliberate attempt to disrupt the business cycle of the cartels," said one former law-enforcement official with direct knowledge of the network. "By going after command and communications you disrupt control."

    Law-enforcement officials and independent analysts described the operations against the Zetas' communications system as significant short-term victories in the fight against the cartel.

    "The seizures show that the organization is scrambling," said Steven Dudley, co-director of InSight, a group that analyzes and investigates organized crime in Latin America.

    The longer-term impact is unclear. The cartel has had little difficulty in replacing radio gear and other equipment seized in smaller operations in recent years. And contacts among the highest-ranking Zetas operatives tend to take place in highly encrypted communications over the Internet, according to Grupo Savant.

    Certainly, cartel radio equipment is a near-ubiquitous presence for Mexicans living along the front lines of the drug war.

    In the state of Tamaulipas, across the border from eastern Texas, many antennas are concealed in the foliage of the rockrose, an invasive shrub that has spread across much of the state's open land.

    Even from a few feet (meters) away it's nearly impossible to see the towers or their power cables.

    In Nuevo Laredo, the Zetas' first stronghold, antennas sprout from rooftops and empty lots. One soldier told the AP that even when authorities took down an antenna there, it was swiftly replaced.

    Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City and Efrain Klerigan in Victoria, Tamaulipas, contributed to this report.

    Associated Press
    December 26, 2011
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!