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Drug Cartel Kidnapped Three Boys Using Violent Video Game

by : Joe Harker on : 15 Oct 2021 17:50
Drug Cartel Kidnapped Three Boys Using Violent Video Game@ El_Universal_Mx/Twitter/Alamy

Three boys were allegedly groomed online and lured away from their families after being contacted by drug cartel recruiters.

Three boys aged between 11 and 14 reportedly travelled to a house run by the Northeast Cartel, based in Tamaulipas, Mexico, after being enticed by the group. They had reportedly been offered work by the cartel after being contacted in a WhatsApp group related to mobile game Free Fire.

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The children were allegedly targeted by the cartel because of their apparent interest in weapons, and left their homes in order to take jobs offered to them by the cartel, The Daily Beast reports.

The children, who have since been rescued by police, were tracked via their phones to a cartel safe house. One woman was arrested at the scene and all the boys were returned home safely.

Social media apps on phone (PA)PA Media

Their parents had raised the alarm after one of the boys left behind a note for his family telling them he would be home soon and would be sending lots of money back.

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Chat windows in video games are said to be the newest method of recruitment for cartels looking to entice young people, with popular titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War and Call of Duty named as some of the most popular video games used to recruit children into crime.

They join a variety of social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok as regularly used to attract impressionable youngsters.

It is estimated that between 35,000 and 40,000 children are enticed into joining Mexico’s world of organised crime each year, according to a 2020 report, with the cartels treating them as ‘totally expendable’.

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Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA, told The Daily Beast, ‘The cartels use social media to entice men and women by posting photos of luxury cars, gold plated weapons, and even exotic pets such as tiger cubs.

‘The cartels have gotten extremely tech savvy, and through the use of the internet have been able to accomplish more than through the barrel of a gun.’

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Topics: News, kidnapping, Mexico, Social Media, video games

Credits

Mexico News Daily and 1 other
  1. Mexico News Daily

    Cartel recruited, kidnapped youths through shoot ’em up video game

  2. The Daily Beast

    Three Boys Kidnapped Using Mega-Popular Mobile Shooting Game