Mexican government hack reveals weapons sold by military, received cartel escort: report
A major leak of Mexican government documents revealed that members of the military were selling arms and information to the cartels.
“Sedena [Secretariat of National Defense] reported in his confidential report that the supplier of weapons and tactical equipment is another alleged member of the army, whom the criminals call “antiguo” and who, according to the analysis of his telephone signal, is based in Campo Military No. 1 de Mexico,” according to the documents.
The information came to light following a security breach at the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), in which hackers from a group calling itself Guacamaya acquired more than four million confidential documents from the government, reported the Mexican newspaper Vallarta Daily.
One of the documents was a June 2019 intelligence report that said a military officer offered tactical gear, weapons and information on armed forces operations to drug cartels.
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At one point, a cartel boss asked the military for 2,000 rounds for the AK-47 rifles, 5,000 for the R-15, and 50 magazines for each type of rifle.
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Mexican marines escort five suspected drug traffickers from the Zeta drug cartel past an RPG-7 rocket launcher, hand grenades, firearms, cocaine and military uniforms seized from suspected drug cartel members of Zetas drugs and presented to the press on June 9, 2011 at the Secretary of the Navy in Mexico City. Five men were arrested and more than 200 rifles, eleven pistols, military uniforms, ammunition of various calibers and more than 200 kg of cocaine were seized in the states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon by the Navy. Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images
The report also mentions a colonel known as the “new commander” for whom the cartel acted as an escort for about two weeks. The report described him as a man who likes to “drink, smoke” and is “into everything”.
The data leak also revealed that advocacy groups that opposed the cartels received training from contractors of presumed Russian origin. Emails dated August 24, 2022 identified four men who trained the Tlacotepec Community Police over a period of nearly two weeks in May of this year.
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However, the secretariat also identified a relationship between the group’s leader, Salvador Alanis Trujillo, and the Sierra Cartel, the Mexico Daily Post reported.
Sedena identified one of the Russian men as Bogdanov Rustam, who is linked to the European Association of Bodyguards and Security. Despite Rustam’s more official affiliation, the Sedena opened an investigation into his possible ties to organized crime.
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Rustam reportedly served as an operator in Russian special forces and counter-terrorism units.
Officials identified another of the instructors as Antonio Rullan Dichter, a businessman and honorary consul of the Russian Federation as well as criminal group Los Rusos, an opponent of the Sierra Cartel.
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The men do not appear to have direct ties to the Russian government, but Mexico has previously raised concerns about Russian influence and presence within its borders.
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Members of the self-defense group Pueblos Unidos perform guard duty to protect avocado plantations, lashed by drug cartels that dominate the region, in Ario de Rosales, Michoacan state, Mexico, July 8, 2021. Photo by Enrique Castro/AFP via Getty Images
A report by Air Force General Glen VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services in March that Mexico was home to “the largest portion of GRU personnel in world,” Business Insider reported.
VanHerck could not specify the number of spies, but he pointed out that operatives in Mexico “watch their opportunities very closely to influence US opportunities and access.”