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Mexican Govt: Los Zetas most responsible for recruitment of minors

May 16, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mexican Govt: Los Zetas most responsible for recruitment of minors

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A new report released by Mexican authorities has identified Los Zetas, the former paramilitary wing of the Gulf Cartel as the primary organization responsible for the recruitment of minors into their ranks, El Debate reported.

For over a decade, the drug war in Mexico has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people. In 2010, the Zetas, a ruthless group made up former rogue Mexican military commandos utilized tactical warfare with unspeakable displays of violence to defeat their rivals after they broke away from the Gulf cartel and began seizing vast territory making them the main rivals of the Sinaloa cartel.

Law enforcement officials credit the Zetas with militarizing the Mexican drug trade.

However, experts say that the most horrific tactic the Zetas introduced to the drug war involved laying waste to an entire generation of youth.

To maintain its hold on power, the brutal group began recruiting scores of children into their ranks as niños-sicarios or child assassins, sending them into battles with rival drug cartels and the military.

There are no official statistics indicating how many children were killed in battles, experts believe the number to be in the thousands.

A recent report released by Marines (SEMAR), widely recognized as the most reliable and effective law enforcement agency against the cartels, has identified the Zetas and La Familia Cartels as the two criminal organizations who have recruited more minors than other organization.

The tactic of recruiting minors to replenish their ranks has since been adopted by other criminal organizations in Mexico.

A 2011 report by the United Nations indicated there were 35,000 juveniles working for organized crime groups, who were paid anywhere between $165 per month and $960 per month, depending on the region where the children were working.

SEMAR officials told “24 Horas” Marine elements have detained adolescents in conflicts with criminal drug organizations in 12 Mexican states Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Veracruz, Zacatecas, Guerrero, Michoacan, Durango, Chiapas, Jalisco, and Nayarit.

Currently there are over 5,000 juveniles incarcerated in Mexico for serious crimes, among them include 485 are females.

The majority of women detained were from the States of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. The arrests of adolescent men were predominately made in Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, and Aguascalientes.

According to the Public Ministry, the majority of minors were detained for an array of crimes including murder, possession of firearms, drug dealing, hydrocarbon theft, extortion, possession of stolen vehicles and kidnapping.

The Marines have also arrested adolescents, both male and female, working as drug mules, and “Halcones” or lookouts, for the cartels.

Edgar Cortez, an investigator on security issues at the Mexican Institute for Human Rights and Democracy says lack of opportunity and poverty makes it difficult for Mexican youth to turn down working for the cartels.

“It’s attractive particularly when there no options, especially when children live in dilapidated conditions, where their prospects provide no other viable opportunities for a better life, there is no chance to get a good education,” explained Cortez.

A poll taken by El Debate revealed that 73% of Mexican citizens said they knew a minor involved in the drug trade. The majority agreed that education programs would be the most effective way of deterring young people from turning to crime.

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