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Smugglers Recruiting Teenagers At And Near Schools

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Above: Smugglers have discovered a new way to bring their drugs into the U.S. KPBS Border Reporter Amy Isackson has details about why teens are crossing the border with drugs taped to their bodies.

U.S. federal officials say smuggling groups are recruiting teenagers on school campuses in San Diego and Imperial Counties to carry drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal officials in San Diego and Imperial Counties have caught about 130 teenagers so far this year trying to cross the border with drugs duct taped to their bodies. That's more than three times as many as last year.

The majority are US citizens. They go to schools near the U.S.-Mexico border. They're fluent in both English and Spanish and are comfortable in both countries.

Jose Garcia, who is with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, won't say at which schools recruiters are working.

"We're actively looking into that along with the San Diego Police Department that has their resource officers involved in trying to identify recruiters so that we can disrupt that," said Garcia.

He also said a lack of resources is hampering the investigation in the Imperial County. Federal officials have caught both junior high and high school students with drugs taped to their bodies.

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