Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Young Guns

Monday, June 20, 2011 |

Jorge Fernández Menéndez
El Excelsior

Responsible for the slaughter of some 70 migrants, mostly from Central America, which appeared in a mass grave in the town of San Fernando, Tamaulipas was a 22 year old who was just arrested. This young man ordered the kidnapping of several buses carrying the migrants, detained and tortured them to find out if they had a relationship with a rival group and finally ordered they be killed.

Also arrested was one of the murderers of two of Governor Rodrigo Medina’s bodyguards, who is 18 years of age. SWAT team members of Nuevo Leon were picked up by police in the municipality of Zuazua, and given to assassins who tortured and killed them leaving a message to the governor. Also last week, there was a very rough gunbattle on the border between Jalisco and Zacatecas. Gunmen who moved in several trucks with federal forces clashed for hours, ten died and several were arrested, including six girls between the ages of 16 and 21 who admitted being killers and sexual partners of members of the criminal group. They collected 12,000 pesos ($1,000) every two weeks.

Such was the case last week. Before this there have been stories of “El Ponchis” and child assassins of Morelos, or the young girls, almost children, with whom Jesús “El Negro” Radilla, head of the same group which “El Ponchis” was affiliated with, who served as sexual partners, assassins or were hired to leave mutilated bodies in the streets; or the thousands of young gang members in Los Aztecas or Artistas Asesinos, engaged in brutal warfare across the border area of Ciudad Juárez.

The stories are innumerable, but the truth is that every time, the assassins of these criminal groups are younger and crueler with their victims, and more money has less to do with their involvement in these criminal groups. Nothing is more worrisome in terms of social phenomenon which has been done directly, than involving thousands of children and adolescents in organized crime, not as in the past being camels (carriers) or consumers and distributors, but increasingly as killers for trace amounts of money. Girls held in Jalisco are paid 1,500 pesos every two weeks, cartel members for the Pacifico Sur just over 3,000 pesos, which is the same as members of the Aztecas or Artistas Asesinos.

Money is no longer the engine of this embodiment. It is a mixture of lust for power, social standing, and ends up being, although it sounds terrible, it demonstrates the magnitude of the social challenge we are facing, when the aspiration for some young people is to be an assassin, to take part in the most cruel and most violent acts within organized crime. Of course all this has to do with the inadequacies that exist in offering work and study to millions of young people in the country, but also a deterioration of the family environment in which these youth are raised, which leaves them with what appears to be, no alternative. If the lack of study or work is the determining factor, the use of drugs and alcohol, which is starting between the ages of 10 and 11, is the trigger for this phenomenon.

It has been said, including those who proposed to be involved in the march that was led by Javier Sicilia, but also by high level political figures, we must have a return to codes - a kind of pact with criminal groups to prevent the current levels of violence. They have forgotten something important: these codes, among criminal gangs, they were lost long ago. If at some time it did not involve women or youth at such an early age in this business, let alone the work of hired killers, it is today the norm, especially when casualties are so accelerated that they cannot or do not want to form new elements . Everyone is disposable.

Today, you can go from stealing car mirrors to becoming an abductor or killer, in a matter of a few weeks or sometimes days in the delinquent pyramid. Views that advocate a covenant or a code with these groups, forget that the moment has passed and that violence has become a code that transcends even criminal groups and their bosses. It has its own dynamics.

The strategy for security may be subject, of course, to adjustments and changes. But it requires an additional national effort, different, having true vision, to serve a generation that is truly in danger and that perhaps a percentage, unfortunately high, we have already lost. But also to take steps towards the next generation, kids who are now completing primary school and are on the threshold of that hell, to not end up falling into it. The secret is obvious: education and work.

As translated from


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10 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

...When you have the innocense of the "young" be replaced with "evil and hate", it's very appparent that we are on a voyage of the self-destruction of man-kind....
...The mayan called this time a time of darkness, and the evidence is clear with the murdereS as young as these people...I also notice the hate, and disrespect with the NORMAL PEOPLE, including the people who bother to responded on this web-site...

Aleric said...

Kill them, I dont care if they are teenagers, that didnt stop them from ending the life of innocents. Wipe the slate clean and start over.

MJ said...

Some of the girls were turned around to face the wall instead of posing at the camera. Can someone explain? If it is as a result of under age, why did they take pictures of the face of a 14-year-old boy captured among his sisters?

J said...

Good story. Really good points. Esp. about it's no longer about the money, or working up the ranks to become a 'trafficker', these kids figure they can get rich kidnapping and killing. They don't even want to move drugs.

Anonymous said...

ahhh ive seen these type of girls in matamoros for cdg but the ones I saw were HOT!!!, these girls look like shit

Anonymous said...

Its pretty sad to see these kids throwing their lives away.
The Mexican govt hasnt done shit for these kids; they have limited educational opportunities, and when they do go to college, they can't find jobs, yet the elite kids go to private schools, and get jobs through 'connections'.
Mexico has very rigid class lines where the elite treat the poor as mostly inferior. Then, throw in the vast corruption , where the cops work for the bad guys, and politicians serve narcos or the elite.
This environment shapes teens to pursue crime as a faster path to make money and have power while ignorant of the risks of death or jail.

Anonymous said...

GREAT now the HEROS of Mexico,the people kids model themselves after are NARCOs?? I see no fear of the law here,Being poor is no excuse for killing neighbors,stealing,joining gangs,even teenagers should have more FORESIGHT being killed,shot,jailed,a expendable DIXI CUP THROWAWAY tool, how can they be so stupid??

Anonymous said...

fucking government aint worth a shit that is the very reason many Mexicanos have left, Uncle Sam should just take over, Mexico, is lost, and im a Mexican American, and i would like to return to my moterland one day as i used to before during the any holidays without worring about dumbassess trying to rob or kill me, either that or legalize guns, that everyone overthere will be equal, con las armas todos estamos parejos!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sad but expectable. Children are quite easily influenced by an authoritan figure, combine that with giving them drugs and you get exactly this. Children soldiers are nothing new.

Anonymous said...

A well written article and precisely why Sicilia and his followers are so naive to think things can revert to the "good ol' days". Those days are long gone and never to return.

Does Sicilia actually think that if Calderon stops the war, that the cartels will ratchet down the violence? Never!

The timing of Calderon's war is coincidental. The fact is that there has been extortion, robberies, kidnapping and killing before and it will only continue.

The difference is the money that is available to be made. Warring cartel factions are becoming more violent as they scramble for a piece of the multi-billion dollar pie.

Even a decade ago, the drug business was mostly controlled by Colombia, but now it has migrated further north to Mexico. The problem began long before Calderon and continue long after he is goe.

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