Complete Coverage  Find out everything you need to know about closures, events and ticket information for the biggest event to hit the Borderland in years when Pope Francis visits Juarez on Feb. 17. Click here

Pope in Juarez

Film aims to raise awareness for cartel youth recruitment

Updated: Wednesday, July 17 2013, 02:11 PM MDT
Film aims to raise awareness for cartel youth recruitment story image

By: Erika Castillo

This film is not yet rated, it will never be seen in theaters, the public cannot buy it, but your kids may see it in school.

"Most kids today are introduced to drugs before they're introduced to algebra," said Rusty Fleming, a cartel expert.

That's a fact Fleming brings into focus. He's the producer of the History Channel's "Gangland." Fleming's latest project, "Operation Detour Two," is the sequel to a regionally-based documentary intent on preventing teens from being naively lured into cartels.

The film was shot in Van Horn and parts of Hudspeth County using a cast made up entirely of local high school students.

Cash is king to cartels and kids getting killed over the cash makes them collateral damage.

"No excuses, no 'give me a chance.' If you mess up, you're dead," said an anonymous cartel member featured in the film.

The film makes use of an actual cartel member. With his life already in danger, he divulges the tactics by which kids are duped, doped and dumped by cartels.

"Once you start skimming off the top to fix your own high, in other words, once you have a habit, we're going to kill you," the cartel member said.

"Whether it's cocaine, heroin, or pharmaceuticals, it's all about money to the guys who run these organizations," Fleming said.

As cartels expand, the message is now more urgent and will be carried farther through the nation in this documentary. Fleming deliberately diluted scenes to exclude some of the gore previously featured in the first film. He did so in hopes of reaching a younger audience.

The push is now on to get this film in every school and at every level across America. Why is that important? Because cartels are recruiting kids as young as 10, and because FBI statistics show that in the last three years, 90 percent of all the murders in Chicago are cartel-related.

Cartel experts said these criminals are sinking their claws into kids all across the country now, and it's not necessarily the kids you might think.

"They're here and honestly, they are in your back yard and the targets are not the kids in the neighborhood, the targets are kids who live in nice communities," the cartel member said.

Cartels are going after college kids to kindergartners; girls are especially pursued. Cartels seek anyone who doesn't fit the stereotypical mold of what authorities profile. Cartel experts said these terrorists operate with tactics and precision at every level from recruitment to retaliation.

"When a kid gets involved, he gets his whole family involved," Fleming said.

Fleming said it's critical to catch kids before they test the waters.

"You get involved with these guys for any length of time and they've got you doing serious work for them," Fleming said.

The film recently premiered in El Paso for educators and law enforcement, which are the only entities allowed to purchase the documentary to show to kids.

"Parents ought to see this too, but we have to get this to the kids first and foremost," Fleming said.

It's hoped the not for profit film made entirely in Van Horn with local students will touch a nerve nationally. While it may not cripple cartels, it's hoped it will save countless young lives.


For more information on the Drug Free 21 Challenge, visit:

For information on how to sponsor a school to receive the DVD, go to :

Film aims to raise awareness for cartel youth recruitment
comments powered by Disqus


KFOX14 El Paso - Live Cast Watch live broadcasts of KFOX14 News seven days a week!

Washington Times