The boy becomes a member of the Los Zetas Cartel


At age 7, Damián was sold or given as a gift by his mother in the border state of Tamaulipas, in Mexico, a year later he was already part of the drug trafficking in the Los Zetas Cartel (CDZ), and at age 14, when he had already participated in multiple crimes such as drug sales, kidnappings and robberies, he was arrested.

Without schooling and without learning, the boy fell into a house dedicated to begging from which he fled to take refuge in destitution and live in a garbage dump, no longer without resources or any way out, the boy was integrated by criminals into a robbery network. infants for organ trafficking, thus initiating a life of crime.

Damián, his fictitious name, is one of the thousands of minors who in recent years have been captured and have joined the ranks of crime, a reality that crushes in Mexico and is portrayed in the book “A hit man in each son gave you: Girls, boys and adolescents in organized crime ”(2020, Editorial Aguilar).

Written by activist and psychologist Saskia Niño de Rivera, co-founder and president of the Reinserta association, which seeks to break the crime circles, together with three experts in psychology and criminology, the text presents six testimonies that explain why Mexican minors become criminals.

“There is a great void and a great social forgetfulness around this problem; the strongest are the very early ages in which they begin to commit crimes, “he explained in an interview.

The criminology specialist also said that the absence of the State does not help to prevent the level of violence to which minors are exposed from escalating “and how society has categorized them as a totally forgotten population.”

According to data from the Network for the Rights of the Child in Mexico (Redim), between 35,000 and 45,000 minors are currently forcibly recruited by organized crime.


“Damián found in organized crime all the shortcomings that he had in his short existence,” explained Mercedes Llamas, co-author of the book along with Fernanda Dorantes, Mercedes Castañeda and Niño de Rivera.

“When the child arrived at the Internment Center for Adolescents, she did not have an identity, she did not have a birth certificate and with this her rights to have a name, a nationality and a family are violated,” she said.

Llamas, also a criminologist, said that the constant in these minors and their families are affective deficiencies, social marginalization, few job opportunities for parents and for themselves, in addition to a failure and a very strong school delay and a violation of human rights

Therefore, he said, the objective of the book is to make this problem visible and give children a voice “to be able to understand why they become perpetrators and have these criminal behaviors” and to present, from another perspective, “why our children and adolescents are opting for this path ”.


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