Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 30, 2016

The Use of Social Media by Alleged Members of Mexican Cartels and Affiliated Drug Trafficking Organizations

Justin Nix, Michael R. Smith, Matthew Petrocelli, Jeff Rojek and Victor M. Manjarrez

Abstract

Focusing on Mexican cartels and affiliated drug trafficking organizations, this article examines how self-proclaimed cartel members use social media to further the criminal activities of their organizations. Employing an open-source, intelligence-driven methodology, the authors identified, followed, and mapped the connections between and among 75 alleged cartel members over a period of 4 months. Results indicated that cartel members actively use Facebook to plan, organize, and communicate in real-time. These findings provide tentative validation to the utility of using open-source social media platforms to study the social structure and operations of Mexican drug cartels. Implications for law enforcement, homeland security, and the intelligence enterprise are discussed.

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Published Online: 2016-7-30
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

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