Gang recruitment enters schools
HOUSTON These southwest Houston teens are very aware of the gangs in their schools and the promises made to those who join. "Even in schools they've been writing in restrooms and stuff. It messes up the schools," said one student. Troopers with the Department of Public Safety warn gang recruitment is crossing international borders. As violence has increased among Mexican drug cartels, they are looking for young people to serve their operations. "It's not real exciting for some kids to go to school and get an education they want to be exposed to nice cars, notoriety is a big thing around school campuses as well," said DPS Trooper Richard Standifer. Troopers say they are luring young minds with promises of cars, money and notoriety, and telling them if they get caught it is of little consequence. DPS says that is a lie. "We're here to tell you when we come across violations in drug trafficking we prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," said Standifer. While the largest recruitment efforts are taking place along the border, troopers say it is spreading to teens inland. "Maybe drugs. They promise each other drugs. They trade for drugs," said the student. Something the teens we talked to say their parents have already warned them about. "Stay with friends or teachers and if there are any problems go to teachers," said another student. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to disrupt and deter this cartel-related crime.