Commander Watkins from the Cochise County Sheriff's office with a message for all parents in Cochise County.

I'm Commander Robert Watkins, and I serve as the operations commander for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. I'm coming to you today for two distinct reasons; the first is as an educational component. I'm not sure parents are aware of what is available to their children on social media. We have a real problem in this county, and we have roughly 1500 smugglers coming into the Sierra Vista and Douglas areas every month to engage in human smuggling. This is done via Social Media recruitment. We're going to show you a couple of items today that are examples of what is commonly displayed on social media. (See video link below). This is all social media platforms TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, all social media platforms, are susceptible to this. We'd like to make you aware that cartel members recruit America's youth from all over the country using social media platforms. With one small search of any social media platform, you can be in direct communication with the Sinaloa cartel. Parents need to be monitoring their children's social media use. 

An example, with great frequency, we have children as young as thirteen years of age flying into Phoenix, either using their parent's Toro app or the cartel will actually provide a 13-year-old with a car; that 13-year-old will drive into Cochise County, pick up several human beings, and then try to transport them back to Phoenix. Many times, they become scared at the mere sight of law enforcement and begin driving extremely dangerously, sometimes up to 130 miles an hour, into oncoming traffic, with no one chasing them. This is all done via social media platforms. They begin direct messaging on the social media platform, and the smuggler will direct the teenager to a platform such as Telegram or WhatsApp, where the person will give them specific instructions to include directions to wherever these migrants are positioned to pick up. So, if you encounter one of these posts on your or your children's social media platforms, please contact the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. We are working jointly with the United States Department of Homeland Security investigations. 

So, the first line of defense against your children being engaged in this type of behavior is an active parent monitoring their children's social media platforms. Thank you. 

Cochise County Sheriff’s Office (520) 432-9500 


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