Monday, November 12th, 2018

Mexican Drug Gangs Using Kids as Mules

March 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Latest Post

Mexican Drug GangsIn the last three years, US border officials have seen a ten-fold increase in the number of minors bringing drugs into the U.S from Mexico. Mexican gangs have started to increase the number of children they employ as drug “mules” to bring drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border. Usually, these drug mules hide drugs in their bodies or cars.

Using kids as drug mules is beneficial to Mexican gangs, because the labor is cheap and the drug mules are expendable. Also, border officials are less likely to detain teenage kids and check for drugs. The drug gangs have been recruiting teenagers at malls and around schools, targeting kids with a U.S. passport. The recruited drug mules are offered quick money in exchange for carrying drugs across the border and are assured of the “low risk” of the process. In reality, those caught smuggling narcotics can face fines up to $5,000 dollars and federal imprisonment for up to 10 years if over the age of 18, or a likely year of labor at a detention youth camp for juveniles. The apprehension rate for drug mules has increased 816% since 2009.

Drug rehab centers across Tijuana report an increase in the number of young kids that are admitted that have been used as drug mules and are also addicted to the drugs. Officials estimate that 10% of the patients at Tijuana rehab centers have been used as drug mules by Mexican drug gangs and have become addicted to the drugs they were distributing. The drugs carried by young drug mules include marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and prescription narcotics.

In addition to the drug mules, Mexican drug gangs have also been using kids as lookouts, and, in some cases, in their hit squads. A 14-year old boy from San Diego was arrested in 2010 and he told reporters that he had been kidnapped at age 11 and forced to work for the Mexican drug gangs. He claimed that he had participated in four beheadings.

Many people blame Mexico’s outdated drug laws for the Mexican gangs using more kids as drug laws. Currently, a minor can receive no more than seven years in prison, no matter what the charge, even if they are convicted of a serious crime, including murder.

Because many of these drug mules have been recruited from southern California, San Diego officials have begun to implement outreach assemblies at local high schools. The goal of these assemblies is to educate both parents and kids of the dangers of becoming a drug mule, and how to avoid drug mule recruiters. Agents from both Border Patrol and Homeland Security speak at the assemblies and remind kids that they are specially trained to spot suspicious activity. They also point out that the drug mules directly fund the Mexican drug cartels, and they use slideshows to demonstrate the violence of these gangs.

 

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