Being in a Mexican drug cartel isn’t all torturing people and having catchy narcocorrido folk songs written about you. There’s a lot of desk work involved. Like whoever had to sit around and watch the hidden CCTV network that was installed by a cartel in the state of Tamaulipas and dismantled by officials earlier this month.
The cameras had been installed to monitor security forces and the potential for civilian interference. Nearly 40 cameras were discovered in this network, making it the largest CCTV cartel-based counter-surveillance option to date.
It is believed that the network belonged to Los Ciclones, one of the factions within the Gulf Cartel.
How could the cartel CCTV operate? Law enforcement officials noted that the cameras were internet-based. They drew power from overhead lines and had access to the internet from lower lines on the same poles. Some of the cameras were discovered to have devices contained within that that would allow a single operator to move multiple cameras at the same time.
Not much is known about how the cartel was able to build and service their network. What officials do know is that the cartel got word of the fact that their CCTV network had been discovered and managed to take down half of their cameras before law enforcement officials accessed them. At minimum, 6 engineers working on behalf of the cartel are believed to have been needed for such a network.
Although impressive, it is also a logical evolution for the cartels in Mexico. They have long had lookouts in place to track the movements of law enforcement or border patrol agents.
We like to say that Big Brother is watching us. In the question of “Who watches the watchers?” the answer in Mexico appears to be the drug cartels. So then who watches the watcher watchers, huh smart guy?