In November, the Texas Department of Public Safety released this warning to parents: Mexican cartels and gangs are recruiting in Texas schools and towns. This is true not only in Texas, but other states that share a border with Mexico. The Texas DPS is warning parents across the state to be aware of these violent organizations that are recruiting Texas youth in our schools and communities with the prospect of cars, money, and notoriety. They send the message that if they get caught, the sentence will be minimal.
These cartels are constantly seeking new ways to smuggle humans and drugs into Texas and the U.S., and now use state-based gangs to support their operations on both sides of the border. Juveniles that live along the Texas-Mexico border are particularly susceptible, due to the poverty level that their small cities have. In 2008, teenagers from the counties along the Texas-Mexico border accounted for 9% of the population in the state, but 18% of the felony drug charges and gang-related arrests.
There are drug cartels operating training camps near the border. They train recruits, ranging from Mexican Army deserters to American teenagers to carry out many assignments, including murder. Young persons have no idea what they are getting into; they are risking their lives for the promise of riches. Many do it to bring in money for their families.
Steven C. McCraw, director of the Texas DPS, warns: “As these dangerous organizations seek to co-opt our children to support their criminal operations, it is more important than ever that parents be aware of these risks, talk to their children and pay attention to any signs that they may have become involved in illegal activities.”
The U.S. Border Patrol has started a program this past year called “Operation Detour”. Part of the operation is a film presentation that is shown to high school students, depicting the graphic side of what happens to youth who get involved with cartels. The program will be expanded along the entire US-Mexico border. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the District Attorneys in Texas border counties are working together to detect, disrupt and deter Mexican cartel-related crime along the Texas-Mexico border.
For the safety of our young people, parents must get involved if they suspect their kids are taking part in illegal activities. The United States has a lot of work to do to curtail the demand for drugs and stop the flow of drugs into our country.
Source: Texas DPS