Drug cartels now using GTA Online to recruit mules?

Authorities have found out that Mexican cartels are recruiting drug mules in GTA Online.


We don't think that video games are a bad influence. There are no credible studies that link video games with violence and other nefarious behavior. However, just like everything else, video games can be used for unintended, bad things. Case in point, real-life members of Mexican cartels appear to have recruited at least one drug runner using Grand Theft Auto Online.

You might want to start paying more attention about who you befriend whenever you play GTA Online.

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Grand Theft Auto Online is a game that's known for many things, but you still don't expect criminals to use it (or any other game for that matter) to find lackeys. However, according to Forbes, this is exactly what happened last November. The report states that the Customs and Border Protection officials pulled over a certain Alyssa Navarro while she was driving a Jeep Cherokee in Arizona. While searching Navarro's vehicle, the authorities found nearly 60kg of methamphetamine inside. When questioned, Navarro revealed that she'd gotten her drugs from a man she met on GTA Online.

Navarro explained that she played GTA Online with "George", after which they exchanged Snapchat information. The two later met up in Phoenix where George offered Navarro $2,000 to transport electronic items in a Jeep from Arizona to Mexico. Navarro added that George offered to pay her more depending on how much she was carrying. George then instructed Navarro to meet up with an individual she referred to as Alfredo, who would load up the vehicle's fuel tank with drugs.

Navarro described the interaction as strange (considering it was a cartel deal, this is probably a very mild way of putting it!) but she pushed through anyway. Now, authorities have charged Navarro with conspiracy import and sell methamphetamine as well as possession of the illegal substance. Navarro's case is still ongoing after she plead not guilty following her court appearance at the end of last year.

Navarro's case could be just one of the several dozen or more in GTA Online, and also other games of course. But, as Forbes' reports notes, there was also a similar case from last year involving three minors in Oaxaca that the cartel hired over Free Fire to act as lookouts. This suggests that cartels are using popular games and not just GTA Online. We think this particular instance probably speaks more to the popularity of GTA Online than anything else.

In other GTA news, Rockstar refuses to announce GTA 6. However, one insider notes that the sixth GTA game could be announced this year. Meanwhile, Take-Two CEO's ruffled feathers with his controversial comments about GTA: The Trilogy. Finally, our recent report on AAA microtransactions suggests that GTA Online has the most publisher-initiated microtransactions.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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