Mexican army looking for 12-year-old drug hitman

The Mexican army is hunting a 12-year-old assassin who is employed by a drug cartel to torture and murder its enemies.

Known simply as El Ponchis, which means The Cloak, the young boy is accused of helping wage a turf war in the central Morelos state.

Reports say he is paid $3,000 per murder, tortures his victims before killing them and often cuts his victim’s throat, leaving the head attached by just a thread.

Videos of El Ponchis attacking one enemy with a stick and cutting the throat of another have appeared online, as have photos of him posing with various weapons and standing by a dead body.

The boy works for the little-known South Pacific cartel, which has allied itself with the brutal Los Zetas – former government paramilitaries who have gone rogue – to battle the major La Familia cartel for control of southwest Mexico.

Based just outside the city of Cuernavaca, El Ponchis is said to work with a group of girls, including his sisters, who are referred to as Las Chavelas and are often responsible for disposing of the bodies.

The gang is reportedly led by a man named Julio Jesus Radilla or Padilla and is mainly made up of young people aged 12 to 23, who have posed for pictures with weapons and drugs online.

But El Ponchis is known as the youngest member and the most bloodthirsty.

A boy who calls himself Cristian Garcia Martinez is shown in a YouTube video telling interviewers that he works with El Ponchis.

In the footage he claims they often kill innocent men such as taxi drivers and builders and claim they are enemies in order to earn extra money.

Pedro Luis Benitez, attorney general of Morelos state, told a local radio station that young people were particularly easy to influence, making murder seem like a game.

“They’re persuaded to carry out terrible acts; they don’t realize what they are doing,” he said.

There has been a significant jump in the number of young people working for drug cartels this year, according to Mexican authorities.

Often living in poverty-stricken areas where there are few positive role models, children are easily seduced by the wealth and apparent glamour involved in being affiliated with a cartel.

The illegal narcotics industry pumps around $40bn into Mexico annually, but in the past four years 31,000 deaths in total have been associated with drug trafficking.

Source: Sky News

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