The Zetas—a Mexican drug cartel believed to be responsible for numerous beheadings, murders, and acts of mayhem—got on the wrong side of the hacker collective Anonymous after allegedly kidnapping one of their members in Veracruz. Now Anonymous has issued an ultimatum: Release our man by November 5, or we'll expose your identities, addresses, and allies.

In the above video, an Anonymous member warns the Zetas that "You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him. And if anything happens to him, you (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5th." In addition to exposing the cartel's secrets, the collective also says it will out "journalists, taxi drivers, and police who allegedly cooperate with the cartel," as CNET reports. Releasing the cartel's secret info "won't be difficult. We all know who they are and where they are."

Should the Zetas take Anonymous's threat seriously? Absolutely, says Mike Vigil, who once upon a time headed international operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "It is a gutsy move," Vigil told the Houston Chronicle. "By publishing the names, they identify them to rivals, and trust me, they will go after them." Cyberwarfare expert Jeffrey Carr believes that any info released by Anonymous "would almost certainly" be used by the Zetas' enemies and authorities, and possibly lead to a movement that could overthrow the cartel. With gangs turning to the Internet to post video warnings and communicate via social media, it's possible that the Zetas have already built up enough of a digital footprint that Anonymous can exploit to their ends, he suggests.

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[Chronicle]