A Mexican non-profit discovers children as young as 13 who have been recruited by drug cartels, some of whom have been killed.

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A Mexican non-profit discovers children as young as 13 who have been recruited by drug cartels, some of whom have been killed.

According to the Associated Press, kids who became associated with drug cartels in Mexico on average first made contact with them between the ages of 13 and 15, according to the non-profit Reinserta. Minors in the country are increasingly being recruited by cartels to finish drug purchases, act as lookouts, and finally kill because they can’t be charged as adults and can more easily slip under the radar.

Reinserta, which aims to prevent youths from becoming involved in cartels or to rehabilitate those who have, questioned 89 minors in three juvenile detention centers and discovered that 67 had been actively connected with cartels. According to their analysis issued Wednesday, everyone participating in cartels dropped out of school and went on to utilize firearms.

According to Reinserta, minors are frequently recruited by children of similar ages. Some attract juveniles through drugs or religion, while others promote a sense of family that many children lack. According to the non-profit, poverty, harsh households, and unresponsive schools and social services can make some children particularly prone to recruitment.

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

Jacobo grew raised in the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel’s native state of Jalisco in western Mexico. He had a harsh childhood, including one incident in which his mother held his hands over an open flame after he allegedly shoved a classmate.

Jacobo, now 17, swears he was not the one who did it. He was recruited to carry out his first murder for the cartel when he was 12 years old. He recalls that “they go around hunting for teenagers who are out on the streets and need money.” “At the age of 12, I became a hired killer.” Jacobo relayed his experience to Reinserta, a Mexican non-profit organization that withheld the teenagers’ real names since they are all under the age of 18, are being imprisoned in juvenile detention centers, and most are afraid of gang vengeance.

“Do you want to make money?” a neighbor said. Growing up in a family that struggled to make ends meet, the solution seemed self-evident. “Yes, I said. Who doesn’t want to be wealthy?” But the $1,500 he made didn’t last long; he developed a meth habit, partly to keep himself quiet. This is a condensed version of the information.

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