FACT CHECK: No, Mexican TV Did Not Report Cartel Members Had AT-4 Rocket Launchers Sourced From Ukraine

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Twitter claims Mexican television reported that cartels have dozens of AT-4s sourced from Ukraine.

Verdict: False

The original report does not claim that cartels are purchasing AT-4s that are originally routed to Ukraine. There is no evidence that Ukrainian AT-4s have been illegally sold or transferred to Mexican cartel members.

Fact Check:

Social media users are claiming that Mexican television reported that cartels have dozens of AT-4s sourced from Ukraine. Others claimed that a video shows a cartel member with a Javelin anti-tank guided missile launcher. (RELATED: Did The Leaked Pentagon Documents Show Ukraine Suffered 71,000 Dead?)

“Mexican TV reports that dozens of U.S. AT-4 weapons systems, which were originally shipped to Ukraine, have been purchased by Cartel Golfo in Mexico,” one tweet reads.

These claims, however, are false. The weapon in the video is an AT4, not a Javelin. While the original report does identify the weapon as a Javelin, this identification is wrong, according to observers such as Calibre Obscura.

Furthermore, the television host in the video is not claiming that the cartels are using weapons shipped from Ukraine. Ioan Grillo, a journalist who covers the cartels, said on Twitter that the Mexican TV host does not say this weapon was shipped to Ukraine.

“This is misreporting by  @CitizenFreePres on an important issue. The Mexican TV host does not say this weapon was shipped to Ukraine. She says it is like those used in Ukraine and doesn’t say, or know, how it was shipped to the cartel. (She also says Javelin, but it is AT-4),” Grillo tweeted.

Check Your Fact also reviewed the original report from Milenio. The outlet does not report that Mexican cartel members are receiving AT-4s or Javelins from Ukraine, just that these weapons are widely used in the war.

Mexican cartel members have also been pictured with AT4s since at least March 2022. Ukraine began receiving Swedish AT4s in February 2022, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There is no evidence that these weapons were trafficked to Mexico.

A March 2023 report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime stated that “there is currently no substantial outflow of weapons from the Ukrainian conflict zone.” The report did caution that weapons used in Ukraine could be used to arm other groups if proper precautions are not taken.

“However, every precedent suggests that, especially if the threat is not addressed proactively and imaginatively, when the current war ends, Ukraine’s battlefields could and will become the new arsenal of anarchy, arming everyone from insurgents in Africa to gangsters in the streets of Europe,” the report states.

The State Department referred Check Your Fact to the Department of Defense. A Pentagon spokesperson told Check Your Fact that “we have nothing to provide on these claims.”

Check Your Fact reached out to Mexican Secretariat of National Defense for comment and will update this article if responses are provided.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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