Border Patrol agents hope program will stop teens from working with cartel

CASA GRANDE, AZ - Border Patrol agents are hoping a program called Operation Detour will teach teens to say no to the cartel.

The program is similar to D.A.R.E., Drug Abuse Resistance Education, an earlier program also targeted at teens.

In the case of Operation Detour, teens are being warned not to do any work for the cartel.

Cartel members are believed to be targeting teens who can drive to transport drugs across the border for thousands of dollars. 

In 2008, the Tucson sector Border Patrol arrested 111 teens connected to trafficking.  So far this year 371 teens have been arrested. 

"Kids think they can get some easy cash. But what they are getting is either time in jail or a death sentence, if they work with the cartel," said Border Patrol Agent Shelton McKenzie.

As part of Operation Detour, agents teach kids about the consequences of getting involved with the dangerous cartels, often detailing how jail time and a permanent record will result.  Border agents say some teens have even been killed by cartel members. 

They are hoping the realities of the drug business will teach young teens to stay away.

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