Sunday, October 23, 2011

Texas DPS Warns Parents: Mexican Gangs Recruiting Youths

Mexican cartels could be recruiting Texas high school students to aid their drug, human, currency and weapon smuggling operations, warns the Texas Department of Safety (DPS).

Recent cases involving U.S. teenagers, like the kidnapping of two juveniles last month, prompted state law enforcement officials to issue the warning to parents, encouraging those living near the boarder to talk to their children and explain how the cartels seek to exploit American teenagers, according to DPS Director Steven McCraw.  

“Mexican cartels have corrupted nearly an entire generation of youth living in Northern Mexico and they seek to corrupt our youth as well to further their smuggling operations,”  McCraw said. “The Mexican cartels value Texas teenagers for their ability to serve as expendable labor in many different roles and they have unlimited resources to recruit our children.”

Although the Texas border region represents 10 percent of the state’s population, DPS officials say the region is responsible for 19 percent of the state’s juvenile felony drug cases.

Last week, Texas peace officers caught a 12-year-old boy in a border county driving a stolen pickup truck containing more than 800 pounds of marijuana. Within the last year, more than 25 youths were arrested in one Texas county along the Mexican border for drug trafficking.

"We want to warn parents for the things to look out for so their child doesn't get involved in this," McCraw told CNN. "It's subtle; it's not always obvious. It's not like a narco will show up at your doorstep with a wad of cash. It could be friends of friends at school influencing their child."

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