A 17-year old boy who says he was “forcibly recruited” into Mexico’s drug cartel was released from custody this week after finishing out his three-year sentence for kidnapping, murder, and drug and weapons charges.
Officials say Edgar Jimenez Lugo will be sent to Texas, where he can be near family at a residential support facility. He’ll be staying there rather than with family members because authorities don’t believe he is fully rehabilitated yet, and can’t say when he will be.
“Being able to say whether he’s been rehabilitated, that would be risky. I wouldn’t really dare say that, because obviously the crimes he committed were so severe,” interior secretary of Morelos Jorge Messeguer said.
Lugo was just eleven years old when he was taken to work for the South Pacific drug cartel, and admitted to police that he participated in four murders while he was under the influence of drugs. Authorities later linked him to four beheaded bodies found hanging from a bridge.
Lugo’s story is well-known in Mexico after it was used as an example of what could happen to teens who fell in with cartel members. He was born in California but raised in Mexico with his grandmother because of violent domestic situations at home, and says the cartel told him that if he didn’t kill for them, he would die himself.