The Northeast Cartel ripped the boys out of their homes Saturday after using a 13-year-old boy to force them into the bloody drug trafficking organization
Five children were kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel after being recruited for the organization through an online video game.
Police from the state of Oaxaca in the south of the country were able to save the boys on Saturday.
The five boys, between the ages of 12 and 15, were hired by a 13-year-old who worked on behalf of the Northeast Cartel.
Founded in 2014 by disgruntled members of the notoriously violent Los Zetas, the Northeast Cartel targeted the boys in a WhatsApp group linked to the multiplayer game Garena Free Fire.
The victims were then removed from their homes in Tlacolula de Matamoro parish and taken to a safe house to be inducted into the cartel.
However, the traffickers’ plan was thwarted when one of the boy’s desperate parents found a letter left by their son.
The letter said he would be making an 800 mile trip to the northern city of Monterrey and sending a lot of cash home.
The police were alerted and managed to ping the boys’ cell phones at a bus stop where their tickets to the north were bought, according to local news outlets.
Police found them in a safe house in the town of Santa Lucía del Camino, where a woman claimed the boys had just come to a birthday party. She has been arrested and could be tried by a judge in the coming days.
Two of the boys, both 12, were identified as Dan Aguilar and Jesús Avendaño.
Avedaño’s mother took to social media on Sunday to explain exactly how her son was recruited and revealed that his first meeting with the boy who works for the cartel had been at a video game store a few weeks earlier.
She said, “This kid always showed him money, up to 10,000 pesos (£ 355), and told him it worked.
“That boy met them right there and suggested things to them, all in the video games.
“This kid invited you to play yesterday [Saturday] and when they were all together they took their telephones and picked them up from Tlacolula.
“They were only allowed to speak to their parents once and then switched off their phones.”
Authorities have not yet found out whether other children in Oaxaca have been recruited by the Northeast Cartel, but cartels that target boys are not a new phenomenon.
Like most modern Mexican cartels, the Northeast Cartel deals with extortion, human trafficking and bribery, and drug trafficking.
The group is currently in the midst of a bloody war with Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel for control of the state of Tamaulipas, so they need new recruits.
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