U.S. Customs in San Luis sees increase in youth drug traffickers

U.S. Customs in San Luis sees increase in youth drug traffickers

San Luis, Arizona December 5, 2011 - It's a dangerous situation:  children being recruited as drug traffickers.

"Here at the San Luis Port of Entry, we've actually encountered an increase of juveniles attempting to bring narcotics taped to their body."

Teresa Small with U.S. Customs and Border Protection says they apprehend many teenage drug traffickers.

"Most of the ones we encountered do it for the fast money," says Small, a Supervisor with CPB.  "Some are coerced in doing this type of activity and some are just doing it for fun.  So we do encounter all of those different ways or processes of why somebody will get involved in something like that."

Amanda Aguirre with Regional Center for Border Health in Somerton says kids involved with drug trafficking don't think of the consequences.

"Some kids are being told that they're not going to be arrested as adults so that it's going to be a minor incident," says Aguirre, the CEO/President of RCBH.  "It is a serious criminal event that they are engaging in.  And they need to know this is violating the laws."

Many of the youth trafficking drugs have families on both sides of the border so they don't have any language or cultural barriers.

"For many who cross daily are what we consider commuter crossers," says Small.  "They just consider it going to neighbor's house, but when, in fact, they're actually crossing the border to another foreign country."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection partners with U.S. Border Patrol to educate youth about the dangers of drug trafficking.

"We're gone and conducted outreach with local high schools and elementary schools so that they know that they maybe approached by drug trafficking organizations," says Small.

Aguirre says although parents maybe busy with work, they should also be aware of what their kids are doing.  Aguirre suggests parents get to know their kids' friends and their parents.

"They might not be looking who they're hanging around with or how late they're coming from school or staying around the school at night," says Aguirre.  "Or maybe going across the border with some friends with not knowing what they're doing across the border."

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