Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

DPS says keep eye on kiddos or drug gangs will do it for you

Not to sound too loud an alarm or anything, but the Texas Dept. of Public Safety is warning parents to keep an eye on their kids – lest they be recruited by Mexican cartels to run drugs or commit other felonious deeds for the transnational gangs.

The "violent organizations are luring teens with the prospect of cars, money and notoriety, promising them if they get caught, they will receive a minimal sentence," reads a DPS press release. They need the labor, it would seem, and are "constantly" seeking new ways to "smuggle drugs and humans into Texas. Indeed, that was the case with Laredo natives Gabriel Cardona and Rosalio Reta who as teens were recruited to be hit men for the Zetas, a newer cartel made up mostly of former military commandos. Reportedly Cardona and Reta were given six months of military-style training on a Mexican ranch and then put on retainer, $500 per week to be available for hit jobs. After a job the pair were paid up to $50K and given a couple kilos of cocaine. According to press reports, the pair carried out seven hits for the Zetas beginning in 2005.

In 2008, DPS notes, juveniles from the border counties made up 9% of the state's population but accounted for 18% of those tagged with felony drug charges or in other gang-related arrests. "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 in illegal activities," said DPS Director Steven McCraw.

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