Special Operations: March 2, 2005


The Mexican media is reporting that a group of former anti-narcotics commandos have gone over to the dark side, and are working as hit men for drug cartels along the American border. The U.S. and Mexican governments both say that the story is mostly hype, but it does raise the question of how often do commando trained troops go bad, and apply their specialized military skills to criminal activities. Reports of this happening are nothing new. Its alleged that the guy who worked out the techniques for successful bank robbery (careful reconnaissance, planning and precise execution) was a German officer who had served in World War I, and was familiar with the work of the first large scale commando operations; the German Stosstruppen. After World War II, a few veterans of British and German commando units were reported using their skills in criminal activities. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, veterans of Russian Spetsnaz commando units were in big demand for work with criminal gangs. The pay was high, and the threat from the police low. Gang bosses openly boasted of how many of how many former Spetsnaz they had in their employ. Unlike the Spetsnaz, which uses many conscripts (who can volunteer for Spetsnaz duty once they are in uniform), most modern commandoes get into these elite units only after extensive screening and extensive training. The high failure rate in training is meant to weed out any trainees who might lack the highest physical, mental and moral qualities. If any of these guys have gone seriously rogue, its a well kept secret. The Mexican anti-narcotics commandos were more like a glorified SWAT team. And corruption in the Mexican military is a major problem. There are rogue commandoes out there, but most of them exist only in video games.


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