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Cartel Chronicles: Exclusive Photos of the Gulf Cartel’s Video Surveillance Network

Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the Gulf Cartel if pseudonyms were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by Reynosa’s “AC Del Angel.”

REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — The Narco-war in Tamaulipas is being fought on all fronts, therefore surveillance has become a very important strategy for criminals and for authorities alike. Breitbart Texas, through the project “Cartel Chronicles,” has obtained a series of exclusive photographs dealing with the video surveillance strategy being used by the Gulf Cartel.

The fierce physical confrontations that have taken places along this border have now begun to take place in a new fashion, through the use of surveillance and monitoring.

Both the Gulf Cartel and authorities have been using surveillance systems in an effort to stay one step ahead of each other.

Both the Gulf Cartel and authorities have been using surveillance systems in an effort to stay one step ahead of each other.

The operations and arrests targeting organized-crime members have drained the operational capacity of the Gulf Cartel in Tamaulipas. Within the structure of the cartel in Mexico, they have members known as “Hawks,” whose function is to report the movements of military forces and rival cartel members.

The so-called “hawks” are young men, and even children, equipped with radios monitor the movements of security forces from strategic spots, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Using lookouts cartel members are able to know what is happening in their streets

Using lookouts cartel members are able to know what is happening in their streets

In the frontal attack against drug cartels, a key goal of Mexican authorities has been to diminish their ability to organize and carry out surveillance. The operations by Mexican authorities have focused on dismantling clandestine radio antennas and repeaters, and on arresting “hawks” that have been forced to keep a low profile while on the job.

The increase in operations by security forces appears to be an attempt at removing the “eyes and ears” of organized crime out on the streets.

The counter strategy by the Gulf Cartel, in an attempt to keep control over the monitoring of the border city of Reynosa, uses light and telephone poles to mount a network of surveillance cameras in various parts of the city. On these poles, cartel members have been installing rudimentary cameras and Internet routers, in order to continue monitoring the movements of Mexican military forces.

Gulf Cartel surveillance camera

Gulf Cartel surveillance camera

This year, as part of the government’s security strategy in Tamaulipas, authorities have placed hundreds of surveillance cameras in some cities across the state. The resistance against these successful surveillance devices came almost immediately.

In the city of Tampico, criminals began to sabotage the government’s cameras. The same thing happened in Reynosa as well. In this border city, the technicians who install and service the security cameras receive escorts by the Mexican military to keep them safe since the Gulf Cartel has already made death threats against them.

Authorities take down a Gulf Cartel camera system

Authorities take down a Gulf Cartel camera system

In what can be considered another level of the battlefield, authorities appear to be delivering more blows to organized crime than they have been receiving, since they have been successful in taking down the network of cameras being used by the Gulf Cartel. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, on June 16, authorities dismantled the second largest network in this city, which had at least 39 cameras.

Mexican authorities seized 39 surveillance cameras and other equipment used by the Gulf Cartel

Mexican authorities seized 39 surveillance cameras and other equipment used by the Gulf Cartel

Two civilians were caught red-handed as they placed a series of cameras and, once arrested, told authorities that they just finished installing more of them. They took police to each of the spots where the 39 cameras had been placed.

A Mexican soldier arrests two suspected cartel members

A Mexican soldier arrests two suspected cartel members

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