Says Texas Dept. of Public SafetyBy Lic. Edward V. Byrne View Edward V. Byrne's profile
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Mexican drug cartels actively recruit U.S. secondary school students to work with them and support their trafficking operations on both sides of the border, says the Texas Dept. of Public Safety. In a warning to parents of adolescents, officials said they have been aware of the problem since 2009, but several recent events involving students have heightened their concern.
DPS says that drug traffickers employ youngsters to carry drugs across border bridges connecting Mexico with Texas. Because the kids speak both Spanish and English, and live in the area, "they are naturals for the work". They blend in well, and their young age makes them less likely to be suspected by law enforcement agents.
The agency reported one case of a 12 year old resident of a border county who was arrested driving a stolen van with over 800 kilos of marijuana. In another incident, two young boys were lured into Mexico with the promise of earning money. Once there, they were held as captives until their families paid a ransom for their release.
"Parents need to speak with their children, and let them know how the cartels want to exploit them," said DPS. "Obviously, a drug dealer is not going to show up at your front door, waving dollar bills. He’s going to try to befriend your child at school."
Texas border counties are home to less than 10% of the State’s population, but about 20% of all minors convicted of serious offenses live there, says the Dept. of Public Safety.
*Follow this link to read a continuation/update of this article, "17 Texas Counties Dominated by Cartels".