According to Fox News, border agents say many of the Central American minors who are streaming unaccompanied into the U.S. are being courted by one of the very gangs that drove them to flee in the first place: MS-13.

An alleged member of the MS-13 gang covers his face while being presented to the media after a raid operation in San Salvador, El Salvador on January 31, 2014. Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images

From Fox News’ report:

Shawn Moran, of the National Border Patrol Council, said the gang leaders are recruiting pre-teens, as they typically do, and following the lead of drug cartels also trying to fill their ranks from among the estimated 57,000 unaccompanied youths and others who have come to the U.S. from Central America in roughly the past nine months.

He said agents have witnessed the recruiting at the Border Patrol’s facility in Nogales, Ariz., and that gang members are using a Red Cross phone bank there to “recruit, enlist and pressure” others illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The sad irony of the situation seems to be the fact that MS-13 is believed to be responsible for much of the Central American violence that has spurred children to flee to the U.S.

MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, was founded in Los Angeles by refugees from El Salvador in the 1980s, and has since spread to Central American countries including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Now it seems gang members are trying to suck children right back into the violence.

“We know it’s happening because agents are telling us,” Moran told Fox News. “The Border Patrol is trying to downplay it.”

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