Customs, Border and Immigration News

Reporter Reveals The Chilling Way Cartels Recruit Kids

A reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed how Mexican drug cartels are recruiting children online to spy on law enforcement on NewsNation Wednesday.

“They’re definitely using video games as the tool,” Jennie Taer, an investigative reporter for TheDCNF told “NewsNation Prime” host Marni Hughes, citing one case involving a 13-year-old boy reportedly recruited by a Mexican cartel via WhatsApp.

The boy was offered $800 a month to spy on law enforcement and was told if he did well, he could become a drug dealer, prompting him to travel to Monterrey unbeknownst to his family. Cartels use tags like “n4arc0,” “c4rt3l” or “zic4ri0s” when recruiting the gamers to evade filters.

“It’s a really hard thing to track for many of these companies and the same thing with apps,” Taer said. “That’s why the cartels are doing it. They understand a lot of these things. They know our immigration laws, they know when border patrols around obviously with these scouts now, and they also know how to use these tools to lure kids to prey on them, essentially just like they do with anything with the drug trade with human smuggling and now with this to have scouts on the border.”


“I talked to a mother, Dora Ortega, [whose] son in Arizona was lured by the cartels online — on Snapchat actually — to smuggle migrants from the border into metropolitan areas of Arizona,” Taer told Hughes, discussing how cartels also recruit teenagers into human trafficking. “She didn’t realize her son was doing this. She thought he was just going to work every day until he came home wearing expensive clothes that she knew he couldn’t afford working in a warehouse every day.”

Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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