A 14-year-old boy was recently arrested and charged with murder as he tried to cross the border from Mexico to San Diego. According to police, Edgar Jimenez, aka "El Ponchis," was earning $3,00 for each murder he carried out as a hitman for the Pacifico Sur drug cartel based in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Along with his 16-year-old sister, who reportedly dumped the headless bodies of Jimenez's victims, the young teen admitted to authorities that he had decapitated numerous rivals of the Pacifico Sur cartel.
"I participated in four executions, but I did it drugged and under threat that if I didn't, they would kill me," Jimenez told reporters. The young boy also claims that he was orphaned at age 12 and joined the cartel after one of the group's leaders had threatened him.
According to CNN, the young boy is actually a U.S. citizen:
Analysts say Mexican drug gangs are increasingly recruiting youth into their violent turf wars:
"This won't be the last time we hear stories of young children picking up arms and killing people because it pays, and because they think it's cool," said Sylvia Longmire, a former U.S. Air Force officer and senior intelligence analyst specializing in Latin America and Mexico's drug war.
With his hands shoved into the pockets of his cargo pants, the 14-year-old told reporters that he was paid weekly in dollars and pesos. But in answering questions about whether he knew what he was doing when he allegedly participated in the killings, the teen said he was under the influence of drugs and unaware of his actions.