National News

Cartels lure American teens to smuggle illegals: ‘No idea what they’re getting into’ – and ‘no way out’

todayMay 9, 2024 1

share close

Cartels are using flashy social media posts with piles of money, jewelry and luxury items to entice teens in America and Mexico to smuggle illegal immigrants across the U.S. border – and officials say the young people have no idea what they are getting mixed up in.Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers arrested two Texas 19-year-olds Saturday for smuggling three migrants after they led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle, then crashed into a rancher’s fence. One of the men in the vehicle, Gerardo Jose Ojeda-Montiel, 33, was a Venezuelan national wanted on murder charges in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas DPS said.Daniele Lopez-Vasquez of Austin, Texas, and Brian Guzman of Del Valle, Texas, were arrested and charged with evading arrest, smuggling of persons, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and unlawful carrying of a weapon. Customs and Border Protection could not be reached for comment for more details about Ojeda-Montiel.’IN THE CROSSHAIRS’: MASSIVE NUMBER OF MIGRANTS FROM THIS FOREIGN ADVERSARY ARE ILLEGALLY ENTERING USTexas DPS spokesman Chris Olivarez told Fox News Digital that the teens likely had no idea they were transporting a murder suspect. Typically, he said, teen smugglers are recruited via TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram or other social media sites. They then use encrypted messaging apps, usually WhatsApp, to communicate anonymously with cartel members, getting audio or text messages instructing them where to pick up their human payloads.Olivarez said the Saturday arrests followed many of the patterns his agency sees with teen smugglers. “In most cases they evade law enforcement, they get in these high-speed chases,” he said Wednesday. “They’re not only putting themselves and the people in danger, they’re putting innocent bystanders at risk. We’ve had cases where people are killed.”ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SUSPECT IN LAKEN RILEY’S MURDER INDICTED, ACCUSED OF ‘PEEPING’ ON UGA STAFF MEMBER”They’re not thinking about the consequences – they’re thinking about the thrill, about quick money,” Olivarez told Fox News Digital.”[They could be smuggling] someone who is wanted for murder, someone who is on a watch list,” he said. “We often see these juveniles with handguns. We believe they have those weapons for their safety; they don’t know who they’re smuggling.”Of 40,400 arrests made by the Texas DPS’s Operation Lone Star in March and 36,100 felony charges among them, thousands are associated with human smuggling. The ages of offenders range from 18 to 66, according to data updated in January of this year. NORTH CAROLINA STUDENT SUES SCHOOL BOARD AFTER SUSPENSION FOR USING THE TERM ‘ILLEGAL ALIEN’Olivarez said that cartels have long recruited teens for their drug and human trafficking operations because they often aren’t charged as adults. “The cartels are well aware that there are less consequences, less prosecution when it comes to juveniles involved in human smuggling,” Olivarez continued. “If a juvenile is caught, for the most part, they are released to a parent or family member. Then they’re doing the same thing the following day.”In some cases, Olivarez said, the juveniles are no older than 13. Also last week, DPS arrested a 14-year-old boy from Mexico clad in a gillie suit who had been guiding a group of migrants across the Rio Grande in McAllen. Officers swooped in after the attempt was caught on a border security camera. “To see a 14-year-old doing that, to see them wearing a camouflage suit, shows just how these cartels are using these juveniles,” Olivarez said. The teen recruitment phenomenon extends into other border states. Last month, a 16-year-old was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol for cramming seven migrants into his car in Why, Arizona, Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin wrote in a post on X.Former DEA Chief of Operations Michael Braun told Fox News Digital that these teens have “no idea what they’re getting into” when they get involved with the cartels, and that there’s “simply no way out once they make that first smuggling run.””Anyone believing differently simply doesn’t understand how the Mexican cartels operate,” Braun said. “They are the most powerful transnational drug trafficking and organized crime groups law enforcement has ever dealt with.”Mexican cartels have used Americans to conduct their smuggling operations for years – but Braun said they are now in a “full court press to exploit much younger Americans.””The cartels know teens are attracted to money and a sense of adventure, and their recruitment is facilitated by social media, which provides cartel recruiters with a practical level of anonymity,” he said. Olivarez said he hadn’t seen a significant uptick in teens running migrants across the border, but that they’ve “always” been a “significant” portion of traffickers. Generally, he said, they are making $2,000 to $3,000 for every migrant they ferry into the U.S. One of two Dallas teens arrested for smuggling in November, a 17-year-old, told NewsNation that he and his friend were offered $1,300 for the job after responding to an ad on Telegram. They were pulled over by DPS for running a stop sign, and the teen said he knew he was “screwed” when he saw the red and blue lights.A new state law passed by the Texas state legislature increased the minimum sentence from two to 10 years for people caught smuggling migrants, according to The Texas Tribune.But the consequences extend further than just time behind bars, Olivarez and Braun said.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”They’re not only dealing with these criminals – there is an overall impact that this is going to have on their lives, especially if they want to go to school, college. They will have a criminal background,” Olivarez said, noting that felonies stay on juvenile’s records even after they come of age. Braun said he feared that “it’s just a matter of time before we see American kids brutally victimized after making naive decisions and minor missteps that infuriate cartel bosses.” “The Mexican cartels rely on the long-standing hallmarks of organized crime – corruption, intimidation and ruthless violence – to ensure mission success,” he said. “I’m talking about unconscionable forms of torture and murder that make designated terrorist organizations and traditional American organized crime families look like Boy Scouts.” “Some will be recovered dead, whole or in pieces, after enduring ravenous forms of torture,” he continued. “Some will never be seen or heard from again. I don’t want to sound crude, I’m just telling it the way it is. This is what our government can expect if it doesn’t take its head out of the sand when it comes to border security.”

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

Rate it

Who we are

Rapid City, South Dakota’s only commercial free unedited internet classic rock radio station; playing a little newer rock and mainly older rock. A fully licensed stream.

This station is part of the Deep Dive Radio Network.


Our radio is always online!

Listen now completely free!

Give us your feedback!


If you like Badlands Classic Rock, please consider making a donation. Your donation goes towards keeping the station commercial free, and helps with operating costs.

More Ways To Listen