U.S. Border Patrol Zeros in on High School Students in War Against Drugs

By Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

FORT DAVIS--Operation Detour is a program designed to show the grim reality of drug trafficking to the young teens being used to move the merchandise.

It's common practice to help teens figure out what they should become after graduation.   It wasn't the usual assembly for students at Fort Davis High School, U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement were telling them what not to do.   Don't fall victim to a drug runner, just to make some cash.

"They're targeting kids fifteen to ninteen years old, sometimes even younger. A lot of kids are attracted to money and the easy part of it," Melody Munn with the Border Patrol, said.

Operation Detour's roots are in in Del Rio.   It began earlier this year and due to the success they've already seen, agents in the Marfa Sector are taking their message to high schools in their area.

"They don't hear this side of it.  They don't hear the stories where mom goes to jail and we're going to call Child Protective Services," Munn explained.

Much of the video used is re-enacted, but some is actual footage.  The information is graphic, but according to Munn, it's the best way to get the message across to the prime targets of drug runners, "It puts real meaning to it and I think it gets a lot of attention that we need to have these kids see.  So, it brings that home to them."

Border Patrol agents say it's all about making the right choices.  After sitting through Tuesday's program, these high school students have plenty to think about.

"It makes me think about the consequences of going into this.  It makes me think of, just my values that I practice," Senior Anthony Salcido, said.

Senior Caleb Bencomo said of the program, "It let's you open your mind to what's happening.  I knew that stuff like this was happening in the big cities.  I wasn't aware of stuff in Marfa, so close to home."

The main thing officials wants kids to take home, there will always be a consequence to their choices and actions.

"Just because they're minors, they can still go to jail.  If they lose a load, someone is going to have to pay for that load.  The debt doesn't go away. And the dangers of that involve their families.  They need to know those things."