Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mother: Didn't know 13-year-old daughter was working for Zetas

Saturday, August 13, 2011 |

The girl has been released because Mexican law says only offenders older than 14 are subject to serving time in jail.

Belen Zapata
CNNMexico

Seated in a room of the attorney general's office in the western Mexico state of Jalisco, a woman waits to be reunited with her 13-year-old daughter. Two weeks before, the girl had run away from home.

Her mother thought that "she was out there with her boyfriend." But the newspaper that a neighbor took her told a different story: the eldest of her six children belonged to the criminal group of drug traffickers, the Zetas, and had been detained the previous weekend during a confrontation between police and gunmen.

In an interview with CNNMexico, the woman, who asked not to be identified, said she did not know whether her daughter was involved in alleged criminal activities -- although the girl confessed to the contrary.

The woman traveled from the nearby state of Zacatecas to Guadalajara, in Jalisco, to see her daughter. "The first thing I did, when I found out, was try to support my daughter, come for her, to show that she is not guilty of anything, because she is a girl," the woman said. "We all feel very bad over the news, but we know that she is not to blame, she is a girl incapable of doing so much."

In a statement before the public prosecutor and later before reporters, the girl said she had spent a month working for organized crime.

She said that her work -- which paid some $800 for the month -- consisted of keeping track of who entered and left Luis Moya, a community of about 10,000 residents located in the south of Zacatecas in central Mexico.

The girl said that she reported to a 22-year-old woman known as La Chaparra, who has since been arrested by state and federal police.

Guarded by two police officers, each nearly twice her height, the teenager -- wearing jeans and a sweatshirt -- was taken before reporters. Before her sat a table laden with the arsenal allegedly seized in the operation during which she was arrested. Her parents were not there.

The reporters questioned her:

What cartel were you working for? "For the Zetas."

Does your family know this? "Yes."

What did they tell you? "That I should leave."

How much were they paying you? "4,000 (pesos) every two weeks."

Since when? "Since a month ago."

How did you enter? "By necessity."



The girl said that her mother had introduced her to La Chaparra. Nevertheless, she said that she was the only member of her family who was working for the Zetas.

The girl was taken to the facilities of the Jalisco delegation of the attorney general's office, where she remained for three days before being released because the Law of Integral Justice for Adolescents of the State of Jalisco stipulates that only offenders older than 14 are subject to serving time in jail.

The alleged youthful member of the Zetas was taken before the First Court of Minors of Jalisco, who must establish the conditions for her rehabilitation. But she will be able to work toward her rehabilitation at home, under the vigilance of her mother and tutor.

As the only person responsible for her family, the mother said she works 12 hours per day in activities that she prefers not to divulge. She said her schedule had kept her from keeping track of what her daughter is doing after the school day has ended.

The woman said she knows that her daughter skipped her high school classes a few times and had been expelled due to what the school called rebellious conduct. But she said her daughter had vowed afterward to improve, and has gotten good grades -- good enough to be awarded a scholarship by the Mexican government. "She's a very intelligent girl, but -- as with all children her age -- a little rebellious, a little restless, but she is a very good girl," the mother said.

From now on, the mother added, she will be more aware of what her daughter is doing, and she will help with her daughter's rehabilitation.

The employment of children by Mexican cartels is no longer a novelty in the country. Eduardo Guerrero Gutierrez, consultant and security analyst, said that such criminal groups recruit principally young people.

"The youths are not contracted directly by the cartel, rather by groups that work for them, who recruit, train, pay and -- if they show potential -- incorporate them in jobs of greater responsibility to convert them into assassins," he said.

Last month, in the state of Morelos, a 14-year-old boy was sentenced to three years in a Mexican prison and a fine of 4.5 million pesos (about $400,000) for crimes that included homicide, possession of a weapon, kidnapping and organized crime.

Witnesses testified that the boy had tortured and decapitated four men. Linked to the South Pacific cartel, the boy said he had joined organized crime at age 11.

The teenager's age -- and his on-camera description of the slayings -- brought international attention to the case. Analysts said the dramatic example showed how Mexican drug gangs were increasingly recruiting youths.

In Mexico, minors who have committed serious crimes receive lighter sentences than those imposed on adults. Some critics believe that, to dissuade minors from engaging in criminal activity, the law ought to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16.



Additional related link: No juzgarán a niña zeta; sólo recibirá terapia

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27 Borderland Beat Comments:

Ardent said...

Sad. How many poor parents in both the US and Mexico lose track of what their kids are actually doing because they are basically paid pennies on the dollar for the hard work they do? Time is money and lack of money is lack of time you have to devote to your own family.

Then the government steps in and pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to lock up some kid in the family whose gone astray from lack of decent supervision. If the wealthy had their way, only they would be allowed to have any kids and all the poor kids of the world that got by this birth control regime would be sent straight into juvenile detention where the wealthy feel that they actually belong.

I'm sure we'll now hear a chorus of USA voices on this thread criticizing Mexico for not locking up the younger than 14 year olders the military there catches up in its 'drug war' net. Jail 'em all, klll 'em all is their usual refrain in matters such as this one, but wouldn't it be much better to not spend all that tax payer chest of money on jails, uniforms, and weaponry, and spend most of it to prevent people from being jailed or killed in the first place? I think so.

Now let the rotten tomatoes thrown at me begin once again. This routine gets so old... The uniform kissing volk want their guns and jails!

Anonymous said...

Mexican law prohibits jail if under 14?? Time and again we get snippets of info on Mexican laws, MEXICANS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO MAKE THEIR OWN LAWS, THEY LACK FORESIGHT,THEY ARE ROMANTICS,INCAPABLE OF COLLECTIVE FUNCTIONAL THOUGHT. As a result the whole country has flowndered in a semi feudal state of squalor ruled by a group of elitist aristocracy that fancies themselves Euro caucasion?? No wonder Mexico has been ruled by so many other countrys hell it needs to happen again, FOR THE SAKE OF MEXICANS!!

Cheryl said...

Really Mom, she's just a girl incapable of doing wrong? WTF, that's the problem. No one is being held responsible for any of their actions!!! The system has got to change!

Anonymous said...

i give her a week before they kill her. she knows too much, even if it isn't a lot, and they already assume she told the feds everything. i would not want to be staying at her home.

DFL said...

They should have taken a whip and flogged the shit out of her publicly, maybe 100 times, then let her go. Maybe that way she would learn a lesson that being a little asshole comes with consequences!! Shes a chunk of shit who no doubt will start squeezeing out babbies real soon!!

Anonymous said...

Texcoco Mex said

I remember when I was a kid 10 years old some of my brothers friends ask me to jump over a small window of a house and open the door so they can rob the house and I said no. I also remember at 12 I got on a fight and I hit a kid with a rock I open his head up and I got in trouble big time, my Dad beat me up.

That Mom is telling her daughter she is not guilty of anything and at 12 her daughter has run away for 15 days.

We were very poor when I was young and even at 18, twenty years ago, I had to ask my father permission to go out. Here in the U.S now my brother daughters, 19 and 17 years old, don't go out without permission, so I think there is something wrong with that family, it is O.K. to support your kids but don't let them do whatever they want because if they taste the easy way of life, then they will be a problem to society.

Anonymous said...

Texcoco Mex said.

Anon August 13, 2011 8:22 AM No wonder Mexico has been ruled by so many other countries..... I know of two countries Spain and France, and France didn't do it by them selfs, they had the help of Spain and England. And can you tell me what country has not been ruled by another country at least one time. I can only think of tree Russia, China and England.

MEXICANS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO MAKE THEIR OWN LAWS, THEY LACK FORESIGHT,THEY ARE ROMANTICS,INCAPABLE OF COLLECTIVE FUNCTIONAL THOUGHT. Dude please grow up. I have a very low level of education only 9 years of school in Mexico and the little English I know I learn it all by myself, reading your comments makes me think your education is lower than mine.

Anonymous said...

Ardent....it is very rare that I agree with you, but your comments are right on point. In a country with few opportunities and little hope of escaping poverty, the flash offered by the cartels is very tempting.

But, and there is a "but", I don't know that changing their circumstances will make much of a difference. Look at the police, judges, politicians who take payoffs from the cartels. And you could argue they come from the best circumstances.

Raising quality of life for the poor is very important. But all it would mean is that the cartels would have to offer more money to suck them into the life.....

I have lost hope that my beloved adoptive country will ever find a way out of this mess....

Anonymous said...

Another stupid-ass mexican law from the 19th century. Mom is good at making babies but no good at raising them. She knew! She was just glad the kid was out of her hair.

Texcoco as usual has some very excellent things to say. Thanks Tex.

ardent wants to spend the money to prevent people from being jailed or killed...??? uh, got anything specific in mind ardent? no? just your usual non-specific, poor vs rich complaining.

Ardent said...

Nobody ever said that the solution to the current drug trafficking criminality world wide will now be easy, Anonymous 12:25. After all, we now have a half century use of 'drugs' as the excuse for all the militarists of the world (especially those ones who reside in the US) to play their war gamies out at other folks' (civilians) expense, and the problem of drug use is now intermeshed with the spread of US militarism into every crook and cranny of the world. The drug cartels have themselves mixed together like silly putty with the US military-industrial-corporate government complex. Solution? Time to defund this corporate monster that focuses us always on their stupid and incessant 'wars'.

DFL said...

Ardent- you are silly putty. Since you hate America so much you ought to move far, far away from here. It would do you and all of us True Blue Americans a favor, but no, we know you won't , we know that really your just a blow hard who takes services for free from our beloved land!! Your Kinda like those little leech fish that grab onto the sharks for a free ride!!

Anonymous said...

@Ardent, you know you are right but you are talking to a wall.

@ DFL...Have any of you ever spent 15 minutes with a 12 or 13 year old girl talking with them about what their interests are? They are very simple, nothing complex, that needs to be "flogged 100 times in public." DFL, if you talked with that little girl for 10 minutes, I promise you would not be able to hit her once. Their thoughts are childish. They want to be safe, have their basic needs met (a place to eat, sleep, and stay warm), to be loved, cared for, and respected.

When asked, "How did you enter?", she answered simply "by necessity? Was she driven by hunger? Lack of safety? Was she being molested by a step father, uncle or cousin? Was their no room for her where she was living as she was 13 and that is when school is over in Mexico? Did a boyfriend promise her $800 a month, twice what her mother or father ever made? Who knows, we will never know. But this is a child. And juvenile detention is overwhelmingly unsuccessful here, why should Mexico do what has proven to only create more hardened criminal, such as research in the US has proved. What did this child do, report who came and left the town, pretty harmless, especially in a child's eyes. I wonder if her cell made her feel loved, protected, warm and safe? I bet they did. Something she was not getting at home, and it could be purely economical and sociological rather than neglect at the home too.

@ Cheryl, it is doubtful you have children, but if you do, I suspect they will be very insensitive adults much like you are. Love, dignity and respect go much farther when raising kids than rules and punishment.

There are so many hard liners on this sight. If hard core police, prisons and military was the answer, we would have won by know. Unfortunately, it was not the answer and you have lost the war. Does that justify sticking more money up a dead dogs ass with this war on drugs?" Given that both governments are involved, I don't think so. It is time for a new direction.

And if y'all want to go beat a 13 year old girl, go right ahead. But if God doesn't strike you dead for it, someone like me might.

TRC

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the mom is to busy prostiturlting herself out 12 hours a day to watch ger kids..This misguided girl probably was preyed on by some coked up cartel pervert that knows little girls are naive. This is really sad, too many years of mexicans looking the other way while their own government was steadily being corrupted has led to this and now they all are reaping what was sown..please pray for this country and it' s people

Anonymous said...

@6:06 PM...I guess your mom was a prostitute for you to have such insight on others. LOL, where do y'all come up with this crap. You need to go back to the Billy Graham channel. But yes, I will pray for Mexico, but I will pray for the US too.

DFL said...

@Aug. 4:44

This is not a normal 13 year old sweet girl . Shes a little monster who would shove a butcher knife into your mouth and slice out your tongue, while stabbing you with an ice pick right before gouging out your eyes before she starts skinning you alive. Shes an evil little bitch that was working for the devil. Maybe you'd like to give her a hug, not me. Shes satanic. Its a garlic necklace and a wooden stake for me. But thanks for your advice. Your ignorance amuses me!!

Anonymous said...

that's why they do this because the parents don't care about what their kids do as long as they are not in their way, these kids need attention and their parents, be it because they legitimately do not have time due to their work obligations to be able to support their families, or because they are lazy bums just doing their thing, they forget they have children to educate and give a good moral ethic, i see kids 5 year old selling stuff in the streets, what's not to say that they are picked up that young to do God knows what for the drug dealers...it's a moral obligation for adults to raise these children right, but they would rather not bother with it, so here are the consequences...this girl may end up getting murdered by the people she "worked" for anyway...

Anonymous said...

Oh DFL you always have such a unique way of explaining it!! LOL!!

ajulio said...

You can't compare this lil' girl to el ponchis. She was doing bad things but i don't think that she's deserving of any severe punishment, maybe some counseling which mexico probably does'nt provide. No matter what, her mother is a deadbeat and a scumbag for letting her young daughter roam around the streets and for possibly introducing this lil' girl to the cartels. Her mom should do some time for her daughters' crimes. This 13 year old girl was the eldest of 6? WTF. In 13 years this woman had 6 babies? That's what i'm talking about. In mexico, people need to practice birth control. There are Too many woman poppin' out kids like a chinese assembly line.

It's the parents who are most to blame for this one. The sad thing is, this young girl will probably return to the cartels but now people will know who she is. I hope they don't kill her.

Anonymous said...

Anon August 14, 2011 6:21 PM i see kids 5 year old selling stuff in the streets.

Are you for real or you are just full of bull shit. Were do you see kids 5 year old selling stuff in the streets?

Anonymous said...

Texcoco Mex said.

ajulio said That's what I'm talking about. In Mexico, people need to practice birth control. There are Too many woman popping' out kids like a Chinese assembly line.

population in 1907 U.S 87,000,000
Mexico 12,050,000

population in 1939 U.S 131,028,000
Mexico 19,320,000

population in 2000 U.S 281,421,906
Mexico 97,000,000

population in 2005 U.S 298,213,000
Mexico 107,029,000

population in 2011 U.S 311,989,000
Mexico 112,336,538

ajulio said...

@ Texcoco Mex

That is because 30 % of Mexico now lives in the U.S. (mas o menos). But Americans in general, don't have half as many kids as Mexicans do. We do practice birth control here. A poor woman having 8 children just does'nt make sense to me and only makes things worse for Mexico. If you can afford them, have as many as you can but if you are dirt poor and living in Mexico, some of those kids might join a cartel one day and may cause harm on society. Poor + too many children = problems.

Anonymous said...

Actually your wrong again Ajulio. In Mexico the average couple having kids is 2, compared to eight or nine 20 or 30 years ago. Also your notion that 30% percent of the Mexican population lives in the US really haha? Common now I know your smarter than that! Also I want you to read this article by the NY times.

Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/07/06/world/americas/immigration.html?ref=americas

Source: http://cuentame.inegi.org.mx/poblacion/defunciones.aspx?tema=P

Anonymous said...

Texcoco Mex said.

Well ajulio I don't know about other families but come from a big family, we are 9 brothers and sisters, I'm the youngest and I was born more than 30 years ago. As today my mother only has 12 grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Yes of course, a poor little victim. Why did you become a criminal dear? Por necesidad, of neccesity. I didn't want to hurt anyone but I had no choice. Everybody has choices sugar and you made some bad ones when you decided to hang out with the bad guys. Good luck on your future choices.

Texcoco Mex was the 9th of 9 kids in a poor family. At age 13 school stopped and work began and at some point he had to choose to not commit crimes.

ajulio said...

@ texcoco mex

I apologize if i offended you. Im mexican-american. My abuelita had 9 children and took care of all of them. I speak directly but sometimes i get pissed when people dont do their parts in society.

Pero Quiero a mi gente.

@10:09 am

I put my foot in my mouth. Good article.

Anonymous said...

someone asked " Were do you see kids 5 year old selling stuff in the streets?"

I can answer that. Absolutely. Even younger. All over TJ there are little kids not 2 feet tall begging, selling candies (chicklets mostly), playing cheap accordions.

At one point the city even said not to give them money because the cartels control all of the candy.

They put the kids out to get money and then the big rats take all of the money.

Same as they do with all of those "recovering addicts" collecting money on the busses. I had a chat with one of those fellows once. He told me that the "rehabilitation center" gets all of the money. We all know about those rehab centers right?

A very common sight is a fat woman sitting on the sidewalk with 5 or so kids around her begging or selling.

There are a LOT of kids now growing up with cartel parents or with just worthless parents. "Narco ninos" they call them. Little 5 year old punk ass bitches with Baaaaad attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Texcoco Mex said

@ajulio thank you for the apology but I'm not offended, I also think people should have no more than two kids.

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