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Anonymous drops Zeta threat after return of kidnappee

OpCartel yo-yo ends with the release of an Anonymous member who had allegedly been kidnapped, and the Mexican drug cartel issuing an ugly threat.

Illustration by James Martin/CNET

Ya basta!

Members of the online activist group Anonymous in Mexico have again (and hopefully for good) called off their threat to expose names of associates of the Zetas drug cartel.

Apparently, the cartel returned the Anonymous member whose kidnap allegedly was the catalyst for the OpCartel plan in the first place.

A statement from Anonymous Iberoamerica says the Anonymous member was freed, "although bruised, we can say he is safe and well." But the cartel, reknowned for its violence and brutality, sent a message back that for every name related to the cartel that is disclosed the cartel will kill 10 people.

Thus OpCartel is canceled to protect people from getting killed, according to the Anonymous statement.

"The Anonymous collective has decided by consensus that the information we have not disclosed for now, that we understand we can not ignore threats that involve innocent people who have nothing to do with our actions," the statement said.

The controversial operation was canceled earlier this week, but then members voted to go forward with it a few days ago. Barrett Brown, who has served as a spokesman for Anonymous in past operations, assumed the spokesman role for OpCartel and told CNET last night that he was assisting the group with its collection of information on the cartel.

Today, Brown told CNET that although OpCartel is now a no-go, he will continue doing intelligence-gathering related to government corruption and international intrigue on his own.

In the meantime, there are signs that his dangerous line of work may be impacting his personal life.

"Now my weed dealer won't come by because he's afraid of the damned Zetas," he tweeted this morning.