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Mexican Drug Cartels Are Recruiting 'Runners' Through Video Games Like GTA Online

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Mexican Drug Cartels Are Recruiting 'Runners' Through Video Games Like GTA Online

Mexican drug cartels are reportedly using video games as a new avenue to recruit people into their dangerous and deadly enterprises.

Cartels have usually preyed on locals and word of mouth to bolster their numbers, however in the digital age it's no surprise that they're using the internet to find new members.

What is surprising is using online games to achieve this.

Forbes has unearthed a report about a woman being arrested for trying to import 60kgs of methamphetamine after being contacted by a bloke named 'George' on GTA Online.

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Alyssa Navarro said she was playing the classic game when George messaged her. They struck up an online friendship that reportedly moved to Snapchat.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

He offered her a job that allegedly involved driving a shipment of electronics across the US-Mexico border.

George said the 'runner' job could see her paid as much as $2,000 every trip.

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While she told authorities she was initially skeptical about the offer, she eventually accepted it and agreed to drive a Jeep Cherokee to Mexico, where she claims she was meant to hand over the keys to a guy called Alfredo.

Border authorities stopped the vehicle in Arizona and allegedly found the shipment of meth hidden inside the fuel tank.

According to Forbes, she's since pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to import and sell methamphetamine, as well as possession.

It confirms the fear that Mexican drug cartels are finding new ways to recruit people and it could be difficult to prevent or sniff out.

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Last year, authorities were shocked when they discovered a cartel was contacting children through mobile phone games.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Ricardo Mejía, Mexico's assistant public safety secretary, revealed in October that an 'apparent cartel recruiter' spoke to three boys between the ages of 11 and 14 on the online game platform Free Fire.

They were promised $200 per week to work in northern Mexico and act as lookouts for the cartel.

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The trio was stopped before they were able to begin work and authorities realised they needed to focus on online games to stop the cartels.

Mejia explained how the likes of Call of Duty, Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto V were also being used by organised drug syndicates to recruit members.

Authorities believe recruiters choose these games because they're 'violence-soaked' and are usually played by young males who are 'fascinated by weapons and somewhat desensitised to killing, at least on a virtual level', according to ABC News.

Featured Image Credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

Topics: News, Mexico, Drugs

Stewart Perrie
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