While studies have shown that violent video games do not directly correlate to violent behavior in the youth that plays them, a new report has found that real life Mexican cartel members were using Grand Theft Auto Online to recruit drug runners.
According to Forbes, in November of last year the Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona pulled over a Jeep Cherokee being driven by Alyssa Navarro. Inside the Jeep was almost 60kg of methamphetamine that was being transported to Mexico. When Border Protection asked Navarro how she had gotten all of the drugs and why she was driving with them, she said it all started after she met a man while playing GTA Online.
As explained by Navarro, she was playing GTA with a man who said his name was “George.” After playing a few rounds together, they eventually exchanged Snapchat info and later met up in person in Phoenix. Once they met in person, Navarro says George asked her to be a “runner” and transport electronic items in a Jeep from Arizona to Mexico, and he would pay her $2,000 per trip, with a rising rate depending on how many “electronics” she delivered.
According to the report, Navarro was then directed to meet up with a man named Alfredo who loaded the Jeep with drugs and hid them in the car’s fuel tank. While Navarro did agree during her interrogation with investigators that the interaction felt strange, she went through with it anyway.
Navarro has been charged with conspiracy to import and sell methamphetamine, as well as possession. She plead not guilty during her court appearance late last year. The case is still ongoing.
Forbes also pointed out a case from last October in which three minors in Oaxaca were allegedly recruited to be lookouts for a cartel over the mobile game Free Fire, according to Mexican law enforcement.