Social media users are claiming Mexican TV reported that anti-tank missile systems the United States sent to Ukraine ended up in the hands of a Mexican cartel. This is false; the claims are based on a mistranslation of the segment, which showed a man sporting apparent gang insignia carrying the same type of military-grade weapon used in Ukraine — but did not say the artillery was diverted from Kyiv.
“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,” says a May 31, 2023 tweet from “Citizen Free Press,” an account that has previously spread misinformation.
Another widespread tweet says: “A Javelin anti-tank missile given to Ukraine valued at $80,000 ends up in the hands of a Mexican cartel (Gulf) member #DefundUkraine.”
Similar claims took off on Twitter and other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, amplified by the Russian embassy in Mexico, the conspiratorial website Zero Hedge and prominent US conservatives including activist Jack Posobiec, former congressman Ron Paul and Republican 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.
“US military weapons including Javelin anti-tank missiles and missile launchers are now being used to arm the Mexican drug cartels south of our own border,” Ramaswamy said in a video shared on Twitter.
“I’m not kidding,” he said. “Weapons that we have sent to Ukraine to protect somebody else’s border halfway around the world end up south of our own border in the hands of narco-terrorist Mexican drug cartels.”