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Shocking testimony details how cartels recruits young American teens into it’s ranks

July 9, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Shocking testimony details how cartels recruits young American teens into it’s ranks

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Shocking witness testimony at the federal trial of an alleged cartel leader has shed light how young Americans teens get involved in the drug trade.

Saul Fernandez, a former member of Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most sinister drug cartel testified under oath this week during the federal trial of Marciano Milan Vasquez, an alleged Zetas leader how the criminal organization targeted American teens for recruitment.

The trial, which started on Tuesday in San Antonio Federal Court, saw several former cartel operatives testify against Milan Vasquez under heightened security. The judge also banned all cameras from the court.

Fernandez told the jury how he started out as a ‘Halcones’ or scout looking out for border patrol agents. At the time he was only 13-years-old when he was recruited into the ranks of Los Zetas.

The 21-year-old Eagle Pass native also said how he enlisted classmates from his Eagle Pass high school to work as scouts and drivers, who were paid $150 per 60-pound bundle of marijuana to transport.

Fernandez took the stand over the course of a two-day period beginning on Thursday, News4 San Antonio reported.

Former Special Agent in Charge for ICE in San Antonio, Jerry Robinette explained how the cartels often target teens for recruitment because if caught, they’re usually harder to prosecute.

“As a result, many times they’re able to escape the same consequences an adult would have to face if he were able to be arrested for the same type of violation,” Robinette said.

An example of this was when Texas state authorities arrested Fernandez when he was 15, and he was subsequently released only a month later.

After his arrest, Fernandez fled with his pregnant girlfriend to Piedras Negras where he continued to work for the Zetas organizing drug shipments for the Zetas on both sides of the border.

Fernandez detailed how the marijuana was packed into bricks, then transported to the border and handed off to drug mules who had two jobs. The first was to get the product across the Rio Grande, usually tapping the bricks to their chest to stay afloat.

On the trip back, the mules often had to bring back weapons and ammo back across the Rio Grande at the request of Millan Vasquez.

The weapons, which included AR-15’s and AK-47’s, would weigh so much the drug mules would need inner tubes just so they wouldn’t drown, according to Fernandez.

He further explained that once the drug shipment crossed the border, another driver would take the load to one of many stash house locations only known by a select few, run by a Zetas operator.

U.S. prosecutors have accused the 46-year-old Millan Vasquez of taking part in the systematic massacre of hundreds of people at the Piedras Negras prison and had ovens constructed at the detention center where the bodies were incinerated.

“Millan Vasquez and other Zetas leaders gave orders to kill persons in the course of the conspiracy and the defendant himself shot, dismembered and burned bodies in furtherance of the conspiracy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Leachman wrote in court filings.

Although Leachman refers to “multiple homicides committed by the defendant,” in the indictment. However, Mexican media outlets and international intelligence organizations, have estimated at least 400 people having disappeared in the case referred to as the infamous “Coahuila Ovens.”

The alleged Zetas leader was arrested in July of 2015 in Texas on drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. At the time of his apprehension, Milan Vasquez was living in a modest San Antonio house along with his common-law wife and family.

The indictment charges Millan Vasquez with ten counts including drug conspiracy and murder while engaging in a drug trafficking offense. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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