Cartel Chronicles: Cartel Members Threaten Citizen Journalists Near Texas Border

Mexico Fights Cartels
REUTERS/Eliana Aponte

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 a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by Matamoros’ “JA Espinoza.”

MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — Cartel members have begun making threats at citizen journalists who run social media pages in Twitter and Facebook that warn about cartel activity, as well as individuals who use a radio application called Zello which provides real time information about shootouts and other dangerous situations along Mexican border cities.

Identifying themselves as members of the Gulf Cartel and using the codename Julio Carrillo Two, the cartel members began to threaten the individuals who run the page called Matamoros Zone of Danger (Matamoros Zona De Peligro).

The page is run by volunteer citizen journalists who using Facebook, Twitter and Zello publish detailed information provided by anonymous tipsters about criminal activity in their city including photographs and video.

The information deals primarily with shootouts and violent activity that go unrecorded and unreported by the Tamaulipas government which constantly claims that violence is decreasing.

The recent threat is directed at the citizen journalists in order to keep them from providing what they consider to be dangerous information. The threat warns citizen journalist that they are considered Halcones (lookouts) against the criminal organization and if caught their lives would be placed in danger.

The cartel member then made a similar threat on the Zello account to the group administrators taunting them for remaining anonymous. The threat has managed to scare off some citizen journalists since the identity of the cartel members who made their threats and their ability to do harm remains unknown.

In response to the threats the administrators of the MZDP posted their response claiming that they take part in informing the community and are aware of the risk that come with keeping the public informed.

“We are not doing anything wrong, simply we are looking out for one another, we don’t mess with those persons and they are not supposed to mess with us. The only thing we are doing is reporting where the situations of risk are taking place so the citizens can avoid those areas and keep themselves and their families’ safe, Friends”

The administrator of the page added that as the violence and insecurity continue to take hold in the city, state authorities, local newspapers, television stations and radio stations don’t have any interest in informing on the violence which harms innocent families along the border.