No, an alleged Gulf Cartel member was not pictured carrying a U.S.-made Javelin missile launcher

By: Emincan Yüksel
June 7 2023

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No, an alleged Gulf Cartel member was not pictured carrying a U.S.-made Javelin missile launcher


The Verdict False

The weapon is not a Javelin but an AT-4 anti-tank missile launcher. The video was mistranslated and shared on social media.

Claim ID a2e5a8bf


On May 31, 2023, Mexican news channel MilenioTV aired a video clip of Gulf Cartel members. The footage, shot in Mexico, shows a man holding an AK-47 and a missile launcher, and is accompanied by claims that the missile launcher is a U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missile launcher and was redirected from Ukraine. The news anchor who presented the story, Azucena Uresti, posted the clip on her Twitter account, garnering 245,000 views.

Another claim made on Twitter using the same video also reached over 1 million views, nearly 5,000 retweets, and 10,000 likes. The tweet reads, “A Javelin anti-tank missile given to Ukraine valued at $80,000 ends up in the hands of a Mexican cartel (Gulf) member.”

However, the weapon shown in the video is not a Javelin, and was not redirected from Ukraine.

In Fact

Upon a detailed examination and comparison of the Javelin missile launcher and the weapon shown in the video, it is evident that the anti-tank missile launcher in the footage does not match the specifications of a Javelin. Alexander Mitchell, the director of external relations for the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), recently stated that the missile launcher in the footage is actually an AT-4, not a Javelin. AT-4 missile launchers have been misidentified as Javelins in this video.

The AT-4 is an anti-tank missile produced by the Swedish company Saab, and utilized by numerous armies globally. AT-4 missiles are also found in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela, and there is no evidence that these weapons were redirected from Ukraine to the Gulf Cartel members depicted in the video.

Fact-checking outlet Lead Stories has also covered this claim, quoting Raytheon Technologies – the company that manufactures the Javelin – who stated that it was “another type of shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon.”

Claims that the weapon in the video was sent to Ukraine and redirected to cartel members in Mexico are also false. In the MilenioTV news report, Uresti did not say the missile launcher was redirected from Ukraine. Uresti said Ukraine only once in the video, stating, "a Javelin which, in theory, is only sold to the Army and has been used during the invasion of Ukraine." She did not directly claim that the missile was redirected from Ukraine in the video.

The Verdict

The anti-tank missile in the hands of the cartel member in the video in question is not a Javelin but an AT-4 anti-tank missile. The anchor did not claim that these missiles were redirected from Ukraine, and there is no evidence that AT-4 missiles, found in many Latin American countries, were redirected from Ukraine. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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