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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/20/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Kids as young as 12 are being used, thrown away by cartels.

A disturbing trend has emerged along the U.S. border with Mexico. Children, some as young as 12, are being used as mules to smuggle drugs into the United States. Federal programs have launched to educate kids about the dangers of working as a drug mule.

Drug mules may carry drugs concealed on their person or even inside their bodies. The payout is nowhere near the potential cost.

Drug mules may carry drugs concealed on their person or even inside their bodies. The payout is nowhere near the potential cost.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/20/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: kids, drugs, mule, trafficking, price, pay, cost, federal, border, Mexico, violence, death


SAN DIEGO, CA (Catholic Online) - There is no honor amongst the drug cartels and the past several years has demonstrated their capacity for ruthlessness in their pursuit of money and power. Among their latest tactics has been to recruit children to smuggle drugs into the U.S. on the notion that children are less susceptible to interception by the authorities, while they are more susceptible to temptation.

According to Al Jazeera, which published a featured report on the topic this week, kids as young as 12 are being recruited with the allure of perhaps $100 or $200 cash offered in exchange for a quick trip across the border, usually on foot, carrying drugs.  The drugs can be carried in a backpack or taped to their body, the smugglers don't really care. They only care that their shipments get through.

Pray for our youth, that they may be protected from evil.

That lack of humanity leads to many consequences including the deaths of kids.

Al Jazeera told the brief story of Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo, 16, who was recruited to carry a liquid substance across the border in a couple beverage bottles. The teen who always had a smile and was full of life, was intercepted when a customs official noticed a discrepancy in his visa.

Detained, officials looked at the liquid he was carrying, but it smelled like fruit juice, didn't crystallize on the air, and Cruz claimed it was apple juice. To prove his point, a took a swig.

Swayed by the demonstration, officers sent Cruz to the next level of scrutiny as they considered his release. However, a final check by a drug dog revealed something horrific. The apple juice in the bottle was 90 percent methamphetamine.

Within minutes, Cruz began to show signs of overdose, and soon his heart began to fail. Clutching his chest, he cried for help. He was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, now cuffed to a gurney as a suspect. Paramedics swiftly administered anti-overdose medication, but to no avail. In his bid to assuage suspicion, he drank too much of the poisonous liquid. An autopsy revealed he died of methamphetamine overdose.

Stories like this are becoming dangerously typical and the numbers of kids intercepted at the border is increasing each year. Cartels are turning to kids because they can be easily bought. As little as $100 can persuade the kid to ditch school or to lie to their parents and disappear for several hours.

Kids who are caught face prosecution in the U.S. although the sentences for minors tend to be light, usually a few months in juvenile detention or probation. Adults can get up to five years, depending on the drug and its quantity.

Still, enough kids are getting through that it remains a problem. The border is too porous and agents cannot check every person thoroughly enough to determine if they are smuggling drugs.

To help stem the tide, Al Jazeera reported that officials have launched an awareness program targeted towards teens. A pilot program launched last November in front of a teenage audience at a San Ysidro High School. Students were warned about the dangers of becoming a drug mule. As a finishing touch, they were shows gory images of people decapitated by the cartels.

The images certainly burned into the minds of the kids, although some made light of the material, and others said they had seen just as much gore in video games. Their reactions are perhaps typical for teenagers.

Nonetheless, authorities have to reach these kids. Children should not be conscripted into the drug industry, however this is a normal phenomenon around the world. We live in a world rife with human trafficking, slavery, and every conceivable form of corruption. It should be no surprise that evil people happily prey upon children.

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