Operation Detour Brings Awareness To Local High Schools

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

MONAHANS - Operation Detour is a program designed to educate high school students on the danger of becoming involved with drug smuggling. West Texas towns like Monahans are not too far off from drug smuggling border towns.

These days drug lords will recruit anyone to smuggle drugs for them either across the border or within the state.

Rush Carter, Border Community Liaison, tells NewsWest 9 children as young as 10-years-old have been known to be smuggling drugs for cartels. That's why a presentation on the very real dangers of smuggling to local high schools is important to them.

"We think it's important to get this message out to the kids and then give them a way to communicate back with their teachers or their local law enforcement and give them some outlets if they are involved," Carter said.

For some high school students, this presentation was an eye opener.

"It's just scary to know what will happen to them and what they get themselves into. They really don't realize what will happen," Kristyn Smith, a student at Monahans High School, said.

"Pretty scary to know that's happening everyday. I guess you can say down your street, it's happening. I guess you're just gonna have to make sure you look out for it," Shelbi Holly, a student at Monahans High School, said.

A local high school teacher knows the pain of losing a loved one to drugs, Laura Brandenberg's brother was a undercover FBI Agent when he lost his life trying to avoid drugs being smuggled into the U.S.

"He was trying to help this world, help these kids understand. It's sad that it has to go like that, it has to go that far. Kids need to realize as long as they are buying, there's always going to be that problem," Brandenberg said.

Carter says if the students took anything from the presentation he hopes they think twice before making a mistake that could possibly cost them their lives.

"Take the detour as we said in the presentation. If you are confronted with that decision or go run with a certain set of friends or proposition of moving drugs or any part of the drug business to say no and take that detour and stay on the right path," Carter said.

Law Enforcement Agencies involved in the presentation say they plan to do the same thing at 14 other West Texas High Schools over the next two months.