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Mexican Drug Cartels Apparently Think Skilled GTA Online Players Make Great Meth Mules

I have no personal frame of reference for this opinion, but I imagine being a drug runner for the Mexican cartel (or any cartel) is loads more fun in a video game setting than in real life. The latter pays more I'm sure, but the stress, risk to life and limb, and persistent threat of jail time have me convinced to stick with legal employment. Not so for some GTA Online gamers who thought it a good idea to become meth mules. It sounds wild (because it is), but apparently drug cartels sometimes use online multiplayer video games as a source for new blood. Back in October of last year, for example, Mexico's assistant public safety secretary, Ricardo Mejía, said a cartel recruiter purchased bus tickets for three teenagers between 11 and 14 years old. The recruiter found the teens on Garena Free Fire, a popular online game, and offered them each $200 per week to serve as lookouts for the cartel. Authorities detained the teens before they boarded the bus, but Mejía told ABC News that other cartels have also recruited drug mules and lookouts through video games, including Call of Duty, Gears of War, and Grand Theft Auto V. Now three months later, Forbes says it discovered that US officials have evidence showing GTA Online is also used as a recruitment tool for drug cartels. It's not clear how long this has allegedly been going on, but according to the site, border agents stopped and inspected a Jeep Cherokee in Arizona last November and found almost 60 kilograms of methamphetamine. The driver, Alyssa Navarro, said a man named George first contacted her in GTA Online, through which they got to know each other over time. Those in-game chats later pivoted over to Snapchat, where George raised the idea of being a runner, albeit for electronics to be sold in Mexico. Navarro claims she was offered up to $2,000 per trip, depending on the size of the load. The only problem for Navarro is that the cartel allegedly hid meth in the Jeep's fuel tank. Authorities have charged Navarro with conspiracy to import and sell meth, and also possession, charges for which she has pleaded not guilty. It remains to be seen how that case will turn out. Suffice to say, though, if someone online propositions you for an offer that seems too good to be true—or is outright illegal—it's best to politely decline.

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