Juvenile Criminal Activity Investigation

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - A multi-agency effort to stop organized crime along the border is targeting a specific group of criminals criminals that aren't even considered adult.

Law enforcement has seen an increase in juveniles participating in severe crimes but prosecution can be difficult due to their age.

Now the agencies are releasing information on their ongoing effort.

Back in January police and other agencies, began the investigation into the transportation of illegal drugs and human smuggling by juveniles along the river.

Laredo police say that the number could decrease if parents become more involved in their child's life.

A new type of criminal is emerging along the border, one that law enforcement says is easy to persuade but hard to prosecute.

"Criminal organizations use those kids and those juvenile to do their work, do their moving and their assaults and stuff like that", said Jesus Torres.

Juveniles that are involved in major crimes.

In a crack down by the state and federal agencies, 70 juveniles have been targeted and as of now their operations have arrested 13, none older than 23 years old, in border related crimes. During the first six months of the operation.

"Mainly narcotics or drugs with drug organizations, human smuggling; the smuggling of a persons, gang activity and terrorism", said Jack Frels.

Led by the border prosecution unit in region two which involves 17 counties, six district attorneys monitor juvenile criminals from eagle pass all the way to Zapata. To prosecute them with the time that matches the crime.

"What they are not able to prosecute in the Federal level were are now prosecuting at the state level this juvenile", said Captain Guadalupe Ortiz.

Due to the criminals young age its hard to prosecute, many have been doing this for years but typically start at the age of 14 or 15.

Law enforcement wants these criminals to know this operation has just started

"It is very important to remind parents is easier to grow strong kids then to fix broken men", said Torres.

Those arrested have been charged with offenses that range from drug trafficking to human smuggling.

Two of the first 13 arrested are also accused of involvement of a murder case in Laredo.

Officials say during these six months only half of the criminals they've investigated have been targeted, they say the will continue to prevent this type of border crimes and they are always proactively investigating.

The agencies involved are DEA, FBI , Homeland Security, Border Patrol and the United States attorney's office.



 
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