Secret Code Words Of Drug Cartels 

Jacob Shelton
Updated October 29, 2018 5.4k views 12 items

Drug cartels, purveyors of illicit substances, have a series of codes that they use in order to get around the law. While many of the code words are in Spanish, they essentially take on a language of their own thanks to the oblique nature of their use. Many of the cartel codes have to do with drugs, but they have just as many that concern guns, death, and when and where they’ll be doing business on a specific day. 

Thanks to drug enforcement agencies, the internet, and shows like Narcos, cartel slang is becoming more well known. The inherently illicit nature of cartel culture means the slang words have to keep evolving so members stay one step ahead of everyone else.

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Organized drug dealers use lookouts, especially if the government monitors their behavior. Cartel members often refer to their lookouts as "ventanas" or "windows."

Cuerno De Chivos

Some cartel members use AK-47s; the assault rifles are relatively cheap in Mexico. Hitmen refer to the weapons as "cuerno de chivos," or "goat horns."

Ya Terminaron De Jugar Futbol

How do cartel members know when the mule delivers a drug shipment? They get a coded message that means "The cocaine's about to be delivered."

According to the DEA, they use the cipher "Ya terminaron de jugar futbol," which translates to "They finished playing soccer."


Cartel members may spend a lot of time getting rid of victims; using code helps them do so discreetly. When ditching a body, they use the word "encajuelado," which comes from the word "trunk."

The LA Times reports this slang comes from the fact the victims are often shoved in a trunk with their mouths gagged and their limbs bound.