Teenaged Cartel Hit Men

CNN has an article on ‘The secret world of teen cartel hit men“, which is about Mexican teenagers who are U.S. citizens committing hits for the narco cartels just over the border.

In Laredo, TX, 13-year-old Rosalio Reta does his first hit for the Zetas:  

Reta’s boyhood friend Gabriel Cardona says he started his life as a criminal by stealing cars and selling them across the border in Mexico. He graduated to smuggling drugs and weapons across the Rio Grande. Cardona says it wasn’t long before he also became a drug cartel assassin. He was only 16…

Reta and Cardona agreed to give CNN rare interviews from the Texas prisons where both men are serving life sentences for murder. They offered a first-hand glimpse inside the sinister world of drug cartels, a world that plagues innocent people on both sides of the border…

The money and lifestyle were so seductive and intoxicating that both teenagers dropped out of school and started living the high-rolling, lavish lifestyle. Reta dropped out sixth grade; Cardona left school in ninth grade.

In interrogation videos made shortly after his arrest in 2009, Reta told a Laredo police detective how killing made him feel like “Superman.”

 Again, from the U.S. side of the border, in Laredo:

 Cardona and Reta grew up on Lincoln Street in Laredo, just a few blocks from the city’s largest border crossing checkpoint.

Over the years the ramshackle neighborhood has developed into a discarded border region where homes sit on dilapidated foundations and families live under crumbling rooftops.

Reta was one of 10 children and Cardona was one of five boys whose father disappeared early in his life…

Reta was a young boy headed down the wrong path. He had followed two friends to the ranch across the border where he was ordered to kill for the first time. The friends were mingling with questionable characters but he was “curious” about the narco world. When Reta arrived at the ranch, it was a crash course in drug cartel culture.

“They were torturing people and getting information from them,” said Reta. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. People getting tortured, killed, decapitated. It was kind of hard to believe.”

On the CNN TV version of this story I had seen last night, the reporter, Ed Lavandera, noted two things which stood out while investigating this story:

  1. What hat little remorse the assasins have for the killings they’ve done, and
  2. The fan mail that the killers get in prison, from male (and likely Mexican-american) wannabees, wanting “referrals” to join the narco gangs.

Ah, how the neighborhood has… changed.

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