Mexican cartels are using social media to recruit people in the United States to help smuggle migrants and drugs into the country amid a surge in border crossings, reported Fox News.
“Transnational criminal organizations coordinate operations at both sides of the border, with operatives picking up drugs, contraband, and migrants as they come across the border illegally,” wrote the news outlet.
According to the report, cartels are using social media platforms to find people in the U.S. to recruit individuals willing to help with their smuggling operations in exchange for money.
“Need someone who can drive an 18 wheeler right now McAllen to Houston already ready $70k,” said one recruitment video posted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
According DPS spokesperson Christopher Olivarez, law enforcement has seen an increase of recruitment adds and videos on social media sites since last year.
“That is why we are experiencing an increase in human smuggling events along the border,” Olivarez told Fox News Digital. “Many individuals from larger metropolitan areas such as Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and even out of state are being recruited as drivers through social media platforms to smuggle illegal immigrants.”
Authorities have warned that the cartels are using many of the adds posted on TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, to recruit juveniles.
“Far from being immune to criminal charges, teens are risking their lives and their futures to participate in this lawlessness, in addition to endangering the lives of others,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels in May after a 16-year-old boy who was recruited to smuggle migrants killed a Mesa resident while attempting to evade police.
The report comes as a record number of migrants is crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. So far this fiscal year, Border Patrol agents have encountered at least 2.1 million undocumented migrants and some 600,000 are believed to have entered the country unnoticed.