(RepublicanInformer.com)- According to a February report from US Customs and Border Protection, criminal trafficking organizations have been using social media platforms to recruit minors for smuggling operations.
The number of so-called “migrants” encountered by Border agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector from October 1 to December 31 last year increased by 163 percent compared to the same period in 2020 to over 137,000 “migrants.”
What’s more, the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley Sector seized over 11,000 pounds of narcotics during the previous fiscal year.
With the increase in illegal activity, the report explains that Transnational Criminal Organizations are requiring more manpower to handle the increased volume.
And they’re using social media as a recruitment tool.
The organizations are using social media to recruit drivers to help smuggle illegals or narcotics across the border in the Rio Grande Valley in exchange for quick cash. According to the report, the recruitment is targeting juveniles specifically since they won’t face the same legal consequences as adults if arrested.
Recruiting inexperienced, juvenile drivers has resulted in an increase in erratic driving including speeding and driving against oncoming traffic.
By using social media to recruit drivers, criminal organizations have also expanded their reach. According to the report, drivers apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley Sector aren’t just from the area. They are also from San Antonio, Houston, and other areas. Some of the drivers arrested have been as young as 13 years old.
Chief Patrol Agent for the Rio Grande Valley, Brian Hastings, encouraged parents to talk to their teenage children and “educate them on the potential consequences and dangers of this trend.” Hastings said many of the teenagers responding to social media recruitment “underestimate the severity of the crime.”
Hastings warned that not only can they be prosecuted and jailed, but they are also endangering lives.