Here’s the secret code a Mexican drug cartel allegedly uses to communicate


To sell drugs and transport their profits, Mexican cartels need to stay off the grid. That means using ultra-secret communications.

In a 2015 money-laundering case in Chicago, special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Jill Dennewitz testified against 32 members of various Mexican drug cartels.

The cartel members often used blackberry messenger, or BBM, according to prosecutors. In one instance, Carlos Parra-Pedroza, also known as “Walt Disney” or “Don Walt,” allegedly emailed a confidential HSI informant a list of codes to use while they talked.

When they communicate, cartels likely spend a lot of time discussing shipment amounts and prices. Therefore, they created a system of codes that correlated with numbers.

62 = 0

83 = 1

71 = 2

49 = 3

57 = 4

66 = 5

35 = 6

21 = 7

18 = 8

96 = 9

The cartel members also used coded phrases that pertained more to scheduling.

Make an appointment = let’s go to the beach

Appointment was made = it’s warm

Which day = [depends on the day]

I am on my way = the beers are cold

I am on my way back = I’m with my wife

I am verifying = I have diarrhoea

Mercedes = ticket is complete

Hamburger = is missing/short

It’s f***ed up = I like your sister

They are following me and I have money with me = let’s go to the movie theatre

Monday = Red

Tuesday = Yellow

Wednesday = Green

Thursday = White

Friday = Blue

Saturday = Black

Sunday = Purple

During one conversation on Aug. 21, 2014, for example, Para-Pedroza told the informant: “The red one we’ll start with 2 orders …. One is of 66 62 62 and the other of 96 62 62 …. Let’s see if we can work all the colours. [Name redacted] and his brother go to the beach the whole week.”

That most likely means: On Monday (August 25, 2014), Looks like we’ll start with two orders …. One is 500 (probably meaning $500,000) and the other one of 900 (probably meaning $900,000) …. Let’s see if we can pick up the narcotics proceeds every day of the week. [Name redacted] and his brother make an appointment the whole week.

The lawsuit claims that “Walt Disney” and his brethren laundered more than $100 million in drug profits using these methods.

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