Cartels target East Texas youth - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Cartels target East Texas youth

Ken Vaughn with TISD Ken Vaughn with TISD
Jean Dark with DPS Jean Dark with DPS

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Authorities say East Texas is a transportation hub cartels use to move their drugs...and they are using kids to do it.

Interstate 20, Interstate 30 and countless back roads make East Texas a hot spot for drug cartels.

Jean Dark with the Department of Public Safety says both children and teens are cheap labor when it comes to the drug trade.

"Generally, when you're dealing with the youngsters, they don't have any sort of record. Which, is what makes them ideal," said Dark.

And, if they get caught, the drug dealers aren't the ones that end up behind bars. Teenagers could end up with felonies on their record.

Dark says drug organizers will lure kids in by offering large sums of money and making the drug trade appear glamorous. And, one you're in, there is no easy way out.

"The way that you can be manipulated and controlled is through treats to your family members. And, if you don't continue to participate and you don't produce what they want you to produce," said Dark.

Ken Vaughn with the Tyler I.S.D. says kids who are isolated or tend to be spend their time alone are the most vulnerable. He urges parents to get closer...to make sure their kid isn't the next target.

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