Both the Pentagon and Interpol previously warned of the risk that weapons shipped to Ukraine would end up on the black market.
A video in which an alleged Mexican hitman of the Gulf Cartel boasted of having a Western anti-tank rocket launcher, a weapon used by the US Army, went viral on social networks. The images were taken at a checkpoint in the Mexican city of Matamoros (Tamaulipas), on the US border.
In the video you can see the individual, also armed with an AK-47 rifle, accompanied by at least seven men and several vehicles. As for the anti-tank rocket launcher, it would be a M136AT4, used by US Army infantry forces against armored vehicles. It is a single-use weapon that, apparently, would be loaded with a missile for training, since the projectile has the yellow band characteristic of this type of ammunition.
Various local media and users of digital platforms questioned its origin. Mexican media specify that it is a military-grade rocket launcher “widely used” in the conflict in Ukraine and? “only sold to Armies”. According to the Milenio report, this weapon costs between $20,000 and $60,000 on the black market and “just one shot can cost $30,000.”
In the pictures you can also see the tactic vest that the individual wears, which includes characteristic insignia of the Gulf Cartel, illustrated with a scorpion –which would allude to the Scorpion Group–, an eagle and a phoenix; the words “respect”, “loyalty”, “discipline”, “transformation”, “courage”, “strength”, and “immortality”; as well as the initials of the criminal organization and the letters XIX, 19 in Roman numerals.
Those symbols are related to a cell of the CDG headed by Jose Alberto Garcia Vilano, alias ‘La Kena’, also known as ‘Ciclon 19’, who is supposed to be the second in command of the Cartel, and who would hold the regional headquarters in Matamoros.
The ‘black market’ for military equipment supplied to Ukraine
In December 2022, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), an arm of the US Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, raised the risk that weapons supplied to Ukraine would end up on the black market, “due to the hasty conclusion of many contracts by the Pentagon.” “The risk is very realby virtue of the fact that we’re dealing with such an incredible volume of items, many of which have combat capabilities, and we’re doing it very quickly,” said James Ives, DCIS principal deputy director.
Previously, in June 2022, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) expressed its fear that weapons supplied to Ukraine would end up on the black market on “all continents”. “Even the weapons that the Army uses, the heavy weapons, will be available on the criminal market.”then warned Jurgen Stock, the organization’s general secretary.
For his part, the award-winning American journalist Seymour Hersh also recently revealed that the West knows that weapons supplied to the Ukrainian Army are leaking to the black market, but the media is silent about it. In his words, at an early stage of the conflict, some European countries were “inundated” with weapons supplied to Ukraine by the US.
The professor and researcher at the Universidad Panamericana, Victor Hernandez, told RT that on some occasions the weapons sent by Washington to the Ukrainian regime end up in Mexican territory. He also added that it is from the US that most of the illegal weapons and ammunition present in Mexico come from.