Gangs Target Pre-Teens

Everyday gangs are targeting younger and younger members right here in the panhandle. Kids as young as eleven and twelve.

Newschannel 10's Marissa Bagg has more on why they focus on recruiting junior high school kids.

    Pre-teens are easily influenced, and are often looking for something to belong to. 

Gangs are quick to include them and then stamp them with a tattoo making them one of their own. 

TDCJ officers say parents need to keep a close eye on who their children are hanging out with in school. "They'll go to a high school and pick those they want to recruit, they'll do a background investigation and if someone fits their criteria they will use bait to reel them in," says Gus Vaquera, a Gang Officer with TDCJ.

"I was looking for something I didn't have at home and I found it in gang-life, they were there for me most of the time," says Gabriel Robles, who was formerly a gang member.

Vaquera says they don't know a lot of information about how gangs recruit new members.

But he expects they will continue to target vulnerable adolescents in the future.