Rumor: Mexican drug cartels created their own private cell phone network

The network supposedly included more than 160 antennas, 150 repeaters and thousands of miles of coverage.

CONFIRMED: The Mexican military broke up several such networks, NPR reported.

In December, NPR reported that the telecommunications networks were built and controlled by drug cartels "so they could coordinate drug shipments, monitor their rivals and orchestrate attacks on the security forces."

One network covered almost 500 miles along the Texas border and another 500 into Mexico's interior. According to NPR, Mexican military personnel seized 167 antennas, more than 150 repeaters and thousands of cell phones and radios that were part of the network.

More networks

NPR reported that in mid-November a similar, smaller network was shut down near the Texas border.

In September, the Mexican navy found 12 antennas allegedly erected by a drug cartel, according to NPR.

NPR said the large Zetas cartel is the likely builder of the networks. Many of the networks stretch through Zetas territory. The gang was formed by ex-members of the Mexican special forces, meaning several members have military backgrounds that could aid them in creating a private communication network.



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