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GTA, Call of Duty and Free Fire: drug traffickers use video games to recruit children, warns the Government of Mexico

The Government of Mexico announced this Wednesday the rescue of three minors who were deceived by organized crime through a video game.

The Undersecretary of Public Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC), Ricardo Mejía, pointed out that young people, between 11 and 14 years old, were contacted through the online video game Free Fire. In this way, they were offered to work as vigilantes and informants for organized crime.

“It is a case that occurred in Oaxaca and a folder is still open. Three minors were rescued in Santa Lucía del Camino on October 9,” Mejía said during the morning conference of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The ‘modus operandi’

The official explained that after establishing contact through the video game, a man identified as Rafael offered a job to one of the minors in the city of Monterrey. The functions of the minor would be to stay on a hill checking the radio frequencies and notify if there was a police presence. For this activity, the child would receive the amount of 8,000 pesos (396 dollars) fortnightly.

The victim accepted the job and told two of his friends, who also wanted to join. The criminal, for his part, accepted that the three minors work for him.

According to Mejía, one of the young men met two women outside a bus terminal in Oaxaca on October 4. One of them, identified as Miriam ‘N’, gave the minor a yellow envelope with cash for travel expenses to Mexico City.

The minors boarded a taxi on October 9 to meet the women again outside the Oaxaca bus station. One of them bought the bus tickets. They were later transferred to a house on the outskirts of the city, where they would wait for the bus to leave.

“Through a intelligence work and from a simulated user it is also possible to enter the Free Fire game, because they were playing, the location can be tracked and that is when elements of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police rescue the minors and arrest Miriam who, as we said, is already linked to criminal process, “explained Mejía.

Bypass algorithms

The official pointed out that this is not the only case, since the authorities have information on other criminals who have started a similar recruitment process through different platforms and video games, such as Call of Duty, Gears of Wars or Grand Theft Auto.

In addition, criminals do not use words like “drug trafficking” to evade the algorithms of the consoles, but they do use acronyms of drug cartels such as CDS (Sinaloa Cartel) or CJNG (Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel) to recruit minors.

“Today the risk is not only in social networks, but in online games. This reality represents a new challenge in security“said Rosa Icela Rodríguez, head of the SSPC.

In this sense, López Obrador criticized the existence of video games that promote violence and put minors at risk.

“We consider that we must be careful and we must dedicate more time to girls, boys and adolescents, that is very important. And not to leave them with the devices turned on with these games that are designed to entertain them but they are not necessarily good ones. content, “he explained.

“We are going to send a message to families, mothers, fathers, children, adolescents, about the risk of electronic games, from Nintendo. All this that is very violent and that undoubtedly affects, damages, “added the president.

The Free Fire video game has more than 80 million users worldwide and allows interaction between users freely and without age restrictions.

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