American teenagers working as hit men for Mexican gangs


Daylife/AP Photo by Guillermo Arias

Rosalio Reta sits at a table inside a Laredo Police Department interrogation room. A detective, sitting across the table, asks him how it all started.

“I thought I was Superman. I loved doing it, killing that first person,” Reta says on the videotape obtained by CNN. “They tried to take the gun away, but it was like taking candy from kid.”

Rosalio Reta and his friend, Gabriel Cardona, were members of a three-person cell of American teenagers working as cartel hit men in the United States, according to prosecutors. The third was arrested by Mexican authorities and stabbed to death in prison there three days later…

The detective sitting across the table from Reta and Cardona in those sessions is Robert Garcia. He’s a veteran of the Laredo Police Department and one of the few officers who has questioned the young men.

“One thing you wonder all the time: What made them this way?” Garcia told CNN. “They were just kids themselves, waiting around playing PlayStation or Xbox, waiting around for the order to be given…”


Both teenagers received six-month military-style training on a Mexican ranch. Investigators say Cardona and Reta were paid $500 a week each as a retainer, to sit and wait for the call to kill. Then they were paid up to $50,000 and 2 kilos of cocaine for carrying out a hit.

The teenagers lived in several safe houses around Laredo and drove around town in a $70,000 Mercedes-Benz…

“These organizations, these cartels, they function like a Fortune 500 company,” Webb County, Texas, prosecutor Uriel Druker said. “We have to remember that the United States is the market they are trying to get to…”

And that’s why the cartel recruited these young Americans. Cardona and Reta could move freely and easily back and forth across the border with Mexico.

Detective Garcia describes sleeper cells organized by Los Zetas – former special forces renegades from the Mexican Army now working for drug gangs like the Gulf Cartel.

In all honesty, I believe the Homeland Security agencies – under new leadership – realize the danger we face from this vector, unlike the recently departed ideologues.

I wonder if, I hope that, American citizens acquire some perception of the real threat to daily life this scum represents.

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