This reads like something out of a Law and Order episode. In fact, if I know my Law and Order, it will soon be a law and order episode.
The cartel videos emerged in 2005, soon after videos of foreigners being beheaded in Iraq appeared on insurgent websites, says Kent Paterson, editor of Frontera NorteSur, a New Mexico-based online news service, who follows the videos.
Early efforts showed prisoners bound and blindfolded, surrounded by armed guards. A declaration was read and the prisoner was executed, often by beheading — mirroring the jihadist videos emerging from Iraq, Paterson says.
These were removed from sites such as YouTube. The cartels gradually replaced them with more sophisticated, better-produced efforts, Paterson says.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration monitors the videos for clues about the cartels and potential use as evidence in prosecutions, says Garrison Courtney, a DEA spokesman. “It’s really changed … how we target the cartels,” he says. The cartels “absolutely” post videos and have an online presence, he says, though some followers or imposters also post on their behalf.