NewsWest 9 Special Report: "Operation Detour" Hits More Schools

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS - Drug trafficking is an on-going battle in the U.S. and in many cases, young people are getting caught up in the crime.  

That's why border patrol agents are targeting a much younger crowd, teaching them what a life of drugs can bring. The program is called "Operation Detour."

"Just trying to get kids to know what happens when they get involved with drug cartels," Border Patrol Agent, Felipe Gonzales said.
 
"We're trying to get them at a young age, we want kids to know who they get involved with. It's a big problem, on the border we see a lot of it coming through and it's ruining all these young peoples lives," Gonzales said.

In the past, Operation Detour was mainly presented at school's closest to the border, but interest in the program is growing, and it's being requested at many campuses.

"It's important for our kids to understand the consequences. We have a drug dog that comes every week here, but this was a different view of trafficking rather than just usage," Wink High School counselor, Barbara McCallister said.

"In drug trafficking, the allure is the money and with that you can do a lot of things, the other end is people having problems getting addicted to narcotics," Dante Sorianello, with the Drug Enforcement Agency, said.

Dante Sorianello has worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration for years. He doesn't believe drug problems are necessarily increasing in the area, but rather law enforcement just has a better handle on it now.

"We arrested the largest amount of people in 2009. We made 182 arrests with federal and state narcotics violations," Sorianello said.

The goal is to keep these students from going down a road of drugs, crime, and violence.

"I think you have to educate kids early. Now a days the world has changed a great deal, the info is out there everywhere," Sorianello said.