DPS: A rise in social media by smugglers to lure minors for smuggling

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 3:58 PM CST
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EDINBURG, Texas (KWTX) – Social media has increased in being used to recruit minors for smuggling operations at the border.

Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol has seen an increase of more than 137K migrants between Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, which is a 163% increase over the same reporting period of the previous year.

RGV Agents have seized over 11,000 pounds of narcotics this fiscal year which is approximately 43% of all narcotics seized by the U.S. Border Patrol across the nation between the ports of entry.

Social media has become an avenue for human smugglers to target juvenile driver with the the promise of fast cash.

They convince juvenile drivers that they will not face the same consequences as adults if apprehended or that law enforcement will disengage a pursuit if dangerous conditions are present.

The result is an increase in erratic driving by inexperienced drivers, often observed exceeding posted speed limits, and driving against oncoming traffic.

The use of social media has allowed local smugglers to expand their network’s reach beyond the Rio Grande Valley.

Authorities have arrested drivers from San Antonio, Houston and other areas with some as young as 13-years old.

Most of these pursuits involve vehicles loaded with migrants well over the manufacturers’ intended passenger limit in order to maximize monetary gain.

RGV Chief Patrol Agent Brian S. Hastings stated, “This is an alarming trend, because many of these teenagers underestimate the severity of the crime. Not only can they be prosecuted and sent to jail, but they also endanger lives through their actions. I encourage parents to talk to their children and educate them on the potential consequences and dangers of this trend.”

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