Face of Anonymous Flees North as Drug Cartels' War on Bloggers Heats Up

Barrett Brown, the face of Anonymous, made CNN last week with bold taunts of the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. Now he's booking it north. Probably a good idea, judging from the gruesome news out of Mexico.

Brown was the public face of the hacktivist collective Anonymous' botched anti-drug cartel operation, Opcartel. Opcartel planned to avenge the alleged kidnapping of an Anonymous member by leaking the identity of dozens of Zetas collaborators using stolen Mexican government emails. " Give us back our #Anonymous participant or many of you die within a week," Brown tweeted on November 2.

Nothing came of OpCartel, which was called off after Anonymous announced the cartel had miraculously returned their missing member. Still, Brown feels that he's in enough danger that he's high-tailing it out of his Dallas home, whose address he says has been made public online by some of the many enemies he's made during his career as an informal Anonymous spokesman.

"I've got ex-military people releasing info on me and family. Have to leave Texas," he tweeted. "Anyone who can buy me ticket to NYC/Boston and have me pay them back in month, let me know. Transistor@hushmail.com Home no longer secure."

Face of Anonymous Flees North as Drug Cartels' War on Bloggers Heats UpS

But what about the six-figure advance Brown says he got for his upcoming book? Brown told D Magazine that he doesn't get the advance for another month or so. Seems like he won't need the money: According to a tweet, members of OccupyDC fronted the cash for a ticket to New York.

(We called Amazon, which is publishing Brown's book, to confirm the sum but haven't heard back.)

Makes sense. If it were me, I'd be hiding out on an isolated drilling platform in Alaska by now. Just yesterday, a man was discovered decapitated in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo; taped to his body was a note warning users of an anonymous message board dedicated to tracking drug cartel movements. It's the fourth drug cartel death in three months in Nuevo Lardeo associated with bloggers and social media.

Even with the Zetas breathing down his neck, Brown did manage to fit one last live-streamed bubble bath in before he left.