A video footage broadcast in a Mexican news report has shown a Mexican gang member carrying a US-made Javelin anti-tank missile launcher, thousands of which were shipped to Ukraine for use against Russian forces.
The report broadcast by Mexico’s Milenio TV on Thursday pointed to the image of a man carrying what it described as the Javelin anti-tank weapon, identifying him as a member of the “Gulf Cartel member based in Matamorous, Mexico, noting that such weapons were shipped to Ukraine months ago.
The weapon, identified by media outlet as a Raytheon-made FGM-148, is believed to be a Javelin missile launcher supplied to Ukraine in large quantities by the US military.
The footage shows the man decked out in CDG patches, armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and carrying the anti-tank rocket launcher.
A Milenio host noted on Twitter that the Javelin launcher has a significant value on the black market, ranging from $20,000 to $60,000, while each missile costs roughly $30,000.
Nuevas imágenes revelan la presencia de hombres armados del Cártel del Golfo (CDG) en Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Su arsenal incluye un M136 AT4, arma antitanque, junto con rifles convencionales. #México #CártelDelGolfo #Tamaulipas pic.twitter.com/eLyvKhwH9A— Lorena (@lorena3afrodita) May 31, 2023
Over the past year, more than 10,000 Javelin missiles have been shipped from US military stockpiles to Ukraine, depleting resources for the US's own armed services.
Some military experts who closely scrutinized the Milenio footage also suggested that the weapon depicted may actually be the AT-4, a Swedish-made disposable anti-tank launcher that is also used by the US military and has been widely supplied to Ukraine.
Russia has consistently warned the United States and its allies against saturating Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, as it poses the risk of direct conflict and the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of criminal networks due to inadequate controls.
A previous investigation in July 2022 revealed various Western-supplied weapons, including anti-tank missiles, being sold on the “dark web”.
Months later, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a warning saying that Western arms worth $1 billion a month were being supplied to terrorists, extremists and criminal groups in the Middle East, Central Africa and Southeast Asia.
Kiev dismissed the warning as "propaganda" and claimed that everyone was properly identified.
The Gulf Cartel is located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, specifically in the border town of Matamoros, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.
The cartel has a long history dating back to the 1930s, but gained considerable notoriety in the late 1990s when it formed a notorious militia called Los Zetas, which has since operated independently.
Although primarily known as a drug-trafficking organization, the CDG has been accused of involvement in racketeering, kidnapping, money-laundering, and trafficking of individuals, sex slaves, and weapons.
In March, the cartel apologized for the kidnapping of four Americans by one of its gangs, which left two victims dead. The cartel claimed it was a case of mistaken identity and subsequently handed five members of the faction over to Mexican police.