Posted by z3d in Tech

A cartel in the embattled central Mexico state of Michoacán set up its own makeshift internet antennas and told locals they had to pay to use its wifi service or they would be killed, according to prosecutors.

Dubbed “narco-antennas” by local media, the cartel’s system involved internet antennas set up in various towns built with stolen equipment.

The group charged approximately 5,000 people elevated prices between 400 and 500 pesos ($25 and $30) a month, the Michoacán state prosecutor’s office told the Associated Press. That meant the group could rake in about $150,000 a month.

People were terrorized “to contract the internet services at excessive costs, under the claim that they would be killed if they did not”, prosecutors said, though they did not report any such deaths.

Local media identified the criminal group as a faction known as Los Viagras. Prosecutors declined to say which cartel was involved because the case was still under investigation, but they confirmed Los Viagras dominates the towns forced to make the wifi payments.



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Titlacahuan wrote

That is such a brilliant strategic move that shows long-term vision by Los Viagras. Such makeshift networking infrastructure may be the only viable way to resist the dominance of big ISPs by the ordinary population. Many a rebellion (see Emiliano Zapata Salazar) have started with small steps like this one.

The article is clearly biased against Los Viagras and I am clearly biased in their favor, but there are two sides to each story. Just like 20 years ago the US government was labeling anyone they didn't like "terrorists" these days Latin-American governments throw the word "cartel" left and right.