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13-year-old U.S. citizen found smuggling undocumented migrants in New Mexico

Police believe the teen was recruited by cartel smuggling organizations to transport migrants

October 26, 2022 9:23pm

Updated: October 27, 2022 4:30pm

U.S. Border Patrol officials said they encountered a 13-year-old boy smuggling and transporting undocumented migrants in New Mexico on Saturday. 

Border Patrol agents at the Deming station got information from the New Mexico State Police about a suspected human smuggling scheme and set up a traffic stop to intercept the operation. 

Agents pulled over an SUV being driven by a 13-year-old U.S. citizen in the town of Deming, about 40 minutes from the U.S.-Mexico border. The car was packed with people, police said. 

Those inside the car were identified as undocumented migrants from Mexico, including an unaccompanied girl who had been smuggled into the U.S. near Columbus, New Mexico. 

The teen driver was turned over to New Mexico State Police. His identity has not yet been released. 

Police believe the teen was recruited by cartel smuggling organizations as a driver along with another teenager. 

“In two separate events, agents thwarted 3 vehicular smuggling schemes resulting in the interception of 23 smuggled migrants from #Mexico & #Guatemala,” the Border Patrol tweeted. 

“Both smuggling schemes involved U.S. Citizen teenage drivers,” said the Border Patrol. Further details of the bust involving the second teenage driver were not immediately available. 

Criminal organizations are luring teens through social media, promising large amounts of money and telling them that they will not be prosecuted if they are caught by Authorities. However, teens caught smuggling can be prosecuted. 

“We’ve had a constant information battle where we put out information to the schools,” Landon Hutchens, spokesman for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector told The New York Post. “We put out information saying, ‘Don’t be duped by the cartels. This can ruin your life.'”