Officials Claim Drug Cartels Are Recruiting Through GTA Online
Whether you love games that allow you to play with friends and strangers from every corner of the world or prefer to stick to offline, single-player adventures, it's hard to deny the former isn't pretty amazing. When you drop into Fortnite with 99 other people, those 99 people are dotted all over the place, playing with and against you in real time. Pretty incredible when you think about it, but the advancements in online gaming do come with pitfalls.
Many of those pitfalls relate to minors and vulnerable people playing online. The latest development on that front comes in the form of evidence that online games are being used to recruit runners for drug cartels. Most notably GTA Online, as has been highlighted by a case unearthed and initially reported on by Forbes. The evidence suggests the person arrested was recruited through GTA Online.
Last November, Alyssa Navarro was stopped by border protection officers who proceeded to find 60kg of methamphetamine in the fuel tank of the Jeep Cherokee she was driving. Navarro claims earlier that year, she had met an individual known only as George through GTA Online. The two struck up a friendship and eventually started interacting on Snapchat before meeting in person.
George asked Navarro if she would be interested in earning money as a runner, collecting electronic goods in Mexico and bringing them back to the US. A truck would be provided, presumably the Jeep she was caught in, and George promised a lot of money for Navarro's work, as much as $2000 per trip. Navarro has since pleaded not guilty to her crimes. When asked if she ever thought the situation was a little strange, Navarro admits she did question what she was doing when making the trip to Mexico.
Navarro has been charged with conspiracy to import and sell methamphetamine, as well as possession. Her situation isn't an isolated incident either. Three children were recruited by a cartel in Mexico last October through BR game Free Fire and paid $200 a week to act as lookouts. It's also believed the Sinaloa Cartel reaches out to people, mostly children, through GTA Online in an attempt to recruit them for various roles.
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