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San Diego Youth Tried In Mexico For Drug Cartel-Related Crimes

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The trial of a 14-year old San Diego resident hired as a killer by the drug cartels begins in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Edgar Jimenez Lugo, who went by the nickname El Ponchis, will face trial in the Southern Mexican city of Cuernavaca.

He is charged with four assassinations, three kidnappings, transporting cocaine and marijuana, and carrying illegal weapons for the South Pacific Cartel, a drug trafficking organization.

Despite the gravity of his crimes, El Ponchis is expected to get the toughest sentence for juveniles in the books in Mexico: three years.

“It’s important to remember that young people carrying out crimes for the cartels need to be punished for them," said Juan Martin Perez Garcia, director of the Mexican non-profit, Childrens’ Rights Network. "But El Ponchis’ case is unique; our courts have never seen anything like it.”

According to the Children's Rights Network, there are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 teenagers linked to drug cartel crimes in Mexico.

El Ponchis was born in San Diego, but was raised by his grandmother in Mexico. He and his older sister were arrested in December 2010 as they tried to board a plane to Tijuana, en route to San Diego, where they planned to reunite with their mother.

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