After being misled by drug traffickers, more than 40 naive border crossers have been arrested since the beginning of last year, as they enter the United States through the two busiest gates of California, the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the story told to investigators by the alleged unaware drug mules, is the same: they got the job through ads in Tijuana and were simply following instructions, which include performing work as couriers, sales agents, vehicle delivery and currency exchange transactions. But authorities said that when they cross over the border, the vehicles are loaded with drugs.
The job posts seeking drivers were appearing as late as last week. Authorities said that in some cases the cartels hide the drugs even in the gas tank of the said vehicles. ICE considered that people that accept the job assingment, very well know the offer “doesn't sound right” and still put themselves in a position to compromise their integrity.
Tijuana is a hub for the Mexican cartels from where they attempt to smuggle billions of dollars worth of drugs each year through the legal ports of entry, clandestine tunnels, and by sea.
Offering jobs to bilingual individuals with U.S. passports or visas is one of the latest ways Mexican cartels use unsuspecting border crossers to transport narcotics to the U.S.
In an attempt to diminish the new trend snaring unaware drivers, U.S. authorities have taken the uncommon step of placing Spanish ads in the same Tijuana newspapers in which the cartels offer the misleading jobs.
"Warning! Drug traffickers are advertising jobs for drivers to cross to the United States. Don't be a victim of the smugglers' trap," reads one the advertisements, sponsored by ICE.
The ads include a toll-free number and website information to receive tips and try to track down the criminals behind the new recruiting tactic.