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Education in Texas: Countering Threats to Children Children August 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Education in Texas: Countering Threats to Children Children August 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Education in Texas: Countering Threats to Children Children August 2009

2 Threats to Children in Texas Crime related to illicit drug trade and cartel activity. Kidnapping of high-net worth children. Family violence spill-over. Public health

3 Threat of Drug Cartel Activity Problems associated with drug cartels are most common in border areas. Cartels have the ability to operate throughout Texas—public and private schools through the state should be prepared. Teenagers are often targeted to become cartel members, enforcers, and traffickers.

4 Cartel Violence

5 Increasing Violence – Year to Date

6 Drug Cartels recruit Texas Children Rosalio Reta – An American citizen and Texas resident, recruited at age 13 to become an assassin for the Los Zetas crime group --Photo courtesy of CNN

7 Drug Cartels recruit Texas Children Cartels also recruit children to be drug runners. Case of Danny Santos – El Paso teenager who was recruited to be a “mule” and move drugs across the border into Texas. He reportedly earned $50,000 in 20 border crossings. Cartels often target middle class children, using newspaper ads, social networking sites and friends.

8 Threat of Kidnapping Cartel-related kidnapping Kidnap-for-Ransom Criminal Schemes

9 Cartel Related Kidnapping in Texas – Case Study Austin, Texas – 5 year old Adrian Jaimes was kidnapped from his home in Austin on February 7, Four men driving a grey Volkswagen Jetta with tinted windows pulled up to the Jaimes home as Adrian was sitting in the backseat of his mother’s SUV. Police said Adrian’s 10-year old sister was the intended target of the kidnappers. A few weeks earlier, the sister had reported a suspicious car had followed her to school.

10 Cartel Related Kidnapping in Texas – Case Study The family received anonymous calls, demanding $300,000 for the child’s safe return. Adrian was found safe in Austin, the same night he was kidnapped. The man charged with the kidnapping was a relative. Police believe Adrian was kidnapped to coerce his father into paying a drug debt.

11 Drug Related Kidnapping – Mexico Case Study Fernando Marti, a 14-year old, was kidnapped in Mexico City on June 4, Marti was the son of a wealthy business owner. The kidnapping occurred as Marti was being driven to school by his chauffeur. A bodyguard was also in the car at the time of the attack. The car was stopped at a phony police checkpoint where the three individuals were abducted. His chauffeur and bodyguard were found dead the next day, stuffed into a car trunk.

12 Drug Related Kidnapping – Mexico Case Study The Marti family reportedly paid a $5 million ransom to a criminal gang related to the drug cartels to secure Fernando’s release. Fernando’s body was found in August, more than two months after his abduction. Three men, including a local police commander, have been arrested and charged with Marti’s murder. Mexico City authorities said as many as 14 other police officers — all from a unit operating at the Mexico City airport — were under investigation in connection with the death.

13 Drug Related Kidnapping Trends As Mexican and U.S. law enforcement authorities crack down on drug cartels and intercept additional drug movements, these groups will seek additional sources of revenue. As the cartels already have the skills necessary to conduct kidnappings, the frequency of this crime is likely to increase.

14 High-Net Worth Kidnapping Schools should be aware of the possibility of kidnapping of children of high-profile individuals, or high-net worth families. Children are especially vulnerable in transit to and from school, and during extra- curricular activities.

15 High-Net Worth Kidnapping – Case Study April 1, 2004 – 9-year old daughter of a computer business owner was kidnapped near her home in a Seattle suburb. The kidnapping occurred as the girl was walking home after getting off the school bus. The 32-year old male kidnapper demanded a $125,000 ransom the same day. The girl was rescued later that day after a high-speed chase, while the girl was in the car, ending with the kidnapper’s arrest.

16 High-Net Worth Kidnapping – Lessons Learned While the attacker did not use sophisticated methods, his surveillance of his target leaving school bus could have been detected by alert parents, bus drivers and ordinary citizens. All crimes require some level of surveillance, making the criminal vulnerable to detection. Teachers should be especially aware of unusual individuals near school property. Likewise, parents should maintain situational awareness at home to understand when something seems “wrong” or “out of place”.

17 Other Threats Emotionally disturbed individuals Lone-wolf shooters, possible connections to militant groups Spillover from domestic disputes Jewish schools and day-care centers are at increased risk

18 Terror Threats Large-scale school sieges, similar to the attack in Beslan, Russia, are not likely inside the U.S. due to law enforcement response mechanisms put in place following the Columbine shootings. School bus bombings are unlikely.

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