Mexican drug cartels recruiting Texas children
Reuters US Online Report Domestic News
Oct 17, 2011 13:34 EDT
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – Texas law enforcement officials say several Mexican drug cartels are luring youngsters as young as 11 to work in their smuggling operations.
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told Reuters the drug gangs have a chilling name for the young Texans lured into their operations.
“They call them ‘the expendables,'” he said.
McCraw said his investigators have evidence six Mexican drug gangs — including the violent Zetas — have “command and control centers” in Texas actively recruiting children for their operations, attracting them with what appears to be “easy money” for doing simple tasks.
“Cartels would pay kids $50 just for them to move a vehicle from one position to another position, which allows the cartel to keep it under surveillance to see if law enforcement has it under surveillance,” he said.
“Of course, once you’re hooked up with them, there’s consequences.”
McCraw said 25 minors have been arrested in one Texas border county alone in the past year for running drugs, acting as lookouts, or doing other work for organized Mexican drug gangs. The cartels are now fanning out, he said, and have operations in all major Texas cities.