Texas – Authorities are warning northern Texas parents that Mexican drug cartels are recruiting new soldiers and killers through gangs at border-area schools and possibly throughout the state.
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, says gangs are now being used by the cartels "on both sides of the border for hit squads, human smuggling and countersurveillance."
Dallas officials say they've seen no direct cartel influence in local schools but say they often use gangs to distribute drugs.
The DPS reports that last year, youths from border counties accounted for 9 percent of the population in Texas, but 18 percent of the state's felony drug charges and gang-related arrests.
DPS officials say that in El Paso, teens have been recruited to smuggle drugs across the border, many with the packs taped to their bodies.
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.