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Whistleblower says a drug-peddling Mexican cartel thrives in Tesla’s Gigafactory

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The massive Gigafactory located in the Nevada desert is an important part of Tesla’s supply chain. It’s just as important to the Mexican drug cartel that allegedly sells cocaine and crystal methamphetamine within the factory walls, according to a former Tesla employee named Karl Hansen who filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Tesla strongly disagrees with the accusations.

Hansen hired attorney Stuart Meissner to represent him. In a three-page letter published online on August 16, Meissner explains that his client, who worked in Tesla’s security department before getting fired in July 2018, established a connection between several Tesla employees selling “significant quantities” of drugs in the Gigafactory and a cartel based in Sonora, Mexico. Hansen asked Tesla to contact the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) but the company never reported the findings.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to these allegations. Hansen adds Tesla spied on Gigafactory employees by wiretapping and hacking their cell phones and computers. The company even installed specialized router equipment inside the Gigafactory to “capture employee cell phone communications and/or retrieve employee cell phone data.” The letter adds Martin Tripp, another former Tesla worker who also filed a complaint against Tesla, was one of the employees spied on.

Finally, Hansen’s attorney claims Tesla failed to tell its board of directors and its investors that thieves stole copper and other raw materials valued at over $37 million between January and June of 2018. Tesla asked Hansen not to report the theft to law enforcement officials and to stop the internal investigation launched to find the culprits. The SEC hasn’t commented on the accusations yet.

“Some of his claims are outright false. Others could not be corroborated,” Tesla said in a statement, emphasizing Hansen has decided to no longer speak with the company. Company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk told Gizmodo that “this guy is super nuts,” using a peanut emoji instead of the word nuts. “He is simultaneously saying that our security sucks (it’s not great, but I’m pretty sure we aren’t a branch of the Sinaloa cartel like he claims) and that we have amazing spying ability. Those can’t both be true,” he added.

News of the complaint emerged a few days after the SEC subpoenaed Tesla as part of an investigation into a controversial tweet posted by Musk. He said he was considering taking Tesla off the stock market and had the “funding secured” to do so. The tweet has landed the California-based electric car maker in hot water.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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