Mexican drug cartels enlist children through video games, authorities warn

Mexican drug cartels are said to enlist children through online platforms, particularly through contacts made through multiplayer video games, The Associated Press reported, citing Mexican officials. Public security assistant Ricardo Mejía Berdeja on Wednesday issued a warning to all parents asking them to watch their children after cases of such recruitment emerged in the country. The warning came after Mexican authorities caught three teenagers aged 11 to 14 after the latter was paid to buy bus tickets by a drug cartel operator.

Adding details of the case, Deputy Security Chief Berdeja said: “The cartel recruiter had already brought bus tickets for three boys.” Fortunately, the young boys were located before they could board a bus from a state in southern Oaxaca, the Associated Press reported. These children met the recruiter on the “Free Fire” online gaming platform, also known as “Garena Free Fire”. According to AP, the recruits were enticed by monetary compensation of $ 200 per week to work as police lookouts in a drug cartel in northern Mexico.

“A lot of money”

The boys were offered a large sum of money along with the promise of receiving a gun, Security Assistant Mejía said, adding that the first boy was contacted in August by a suspected recruiter. The boy then involved two of his friends who agreed to join the first. Mexican police also arrested a woman, who allegedly brought the boys to Monterrey under false names. Mejía declined to provide details of the cartel in the case, instead, assessed the media about a similar case in early September, when recruiters on behalf of the Del Noreste cartel also attempted such a case. online registration.

Several other recruiters dangerous to violent cartels are veiling themselves under fancy names and looking for potential targets, especially young men fascinated by guns, deputy security chief Ricardo Mejia said at a press briefing on Wednesday. Bloomberg reported. Some of the recruiters work for huge cartels like the Jalisco New Generation, the Cartel of the Northeast and other groups and are looking for teenagers “somewhat insensitive to the murder,” AP reported, citing the official. Among some of the games identified as a platform for such traps were Call of Duty, Gears of War, and Grand Theft Auto V.

With AP inputs

Image: Unsplash (representative)

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Carolyn M. Daniel

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