Mexican cartels recruit minors to bring drugs to the US


Phoenix.- The Mexican cartels Sonora are no longer supplying and are recruiting underage Arizona residents to pass "strong" drugs to the United States, Santa Cruz County (Arizona) sheriff Tony Estrada told Efe on Thursday.

The chief of police of this county bordering the state of Nogales explained that these criminal groups have reinforced their tactics to recruit young people from Arizona, to those who "cheat" for traffic high-effect drugs.

"The age doesn't stop them anymore. Besides, they make them cross heavy drugs like fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, the marijuana was left behind, "he explained.

The uniformed said that Santa Cruz County is the most active corridor in drug trafficking, since it connects the roads of Sonora (Mexico) with those of Tucson (Arizona), where thousands of vehicles pass daily and, due to lack of personnel and specialists in narcotics, traffickers "prefer to smuggle through these checkpoints."

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"The reality is that in the checkpoints there is not enough staff. Currently there are more than 100 vacancies in Nogales, so there are not enough elements to investigate, so the flow of illegal activities does not stop," he lamented.

Estrada said that in the more than 50 years he has been active as a sheriff, he has seen how the cartels have grown on the border and how the war to distribute the drug in the United States has become more "dangerous."

"Nothing more this Wednesday they had to close one of the Santa Cruz County checkpoints for a Mexican side shootout. They do not stop wars for border traffic since the United States is the main drug user," he explained.

He said that the demand for drugs in the United States is a highly profitable business and that the cartels are no longer supplying and are approaching people from Arizona to smuggle narcotics.

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Raul Rodriguez, a detective at the Santa Cruz County Prosecutor's Office, told local media that the cartels are running out of teenagers to recruit in the Nogales metropolitan area, so they are now recruiting in new places through the networks social, video games, word of mouth or travel to Mexico.

Alan Regalado, spokesman for the Tucson Customs and Border Protection sector told ABC15 that the number of Arizona minors arrested for contraband is "alarming." EFE

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