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Attorney General Warns About Cartels Recruiting Arizona Teens

May 27, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a warning about cartels recruiting Arizona teens to traffic illegal immigrants across border.

The cartels recruit teenagers through social media ads. They promise to pay up to $2,000 for each illegal immigrant passenger they transport in vehicles, nicknamed “load cars,” to either Tucson or Phoenix.

Brnovich noted that his office has partnered with local, state, and federal agencies to prevent human smuggling in a task force known as “Operation Safe Streets.” At present, their task force averages two to ten load cars stopped a day. 

Additionally, Brnovich reported thousands of smugglers coming to the border. 

Load car drivers may face a slew of charges including kidnapping and unlawful fleeing. 

In March, the youngest load car driver to date was arrested in Cochise County. The 14-year-old had two illegal immigrants in his car. 

Earlier this month, Governor Doug Ducey petitioned the major social media companies — Twitter, Snap, Facebook, and Tik Tok — to take down “load driver” posts. 

“Inaction only enables cartels to victimize countless youths and families,” wrote Ducey. “Just as your companies work to protect youth from obscenity and violence on your social media platforms, it’s time to protect them from criminal solicitation as well.”

It doesn’t appear the social media giants have taken action. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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