GTA Online Reportedly Being Used as Real-Life Recruitment Tool for Drug Cartels –

By Marc Deschamps – January 26, 2022 11:11 pm EST
Mexican drug cartels have apparently been using games such as GTA Online as a real-life recruitment tool to enlist drug mules. According to reporting from Forbes, Mexican police first made claims about the game being used as a recruitment tool last year, and now the outlet has discovered one specific case tied to the game. Alyssa Navarro was reportedly contacted last January by a cartel member while playing the game, before moving to Snap Chat and eventually an in-person meeting. Navarro was arrested by Customs and Border Protection in Arizona in November, when she was found in a Jeep Cherokee filled with 60kg of methamphetamine.
Navarro’s contact apparently offered her up to $2,000 for each trip, as well as the use of a vehicle. Forbes’ reporting seems to imply that Navarro was under the impression she was transporting electronics, as opposed to drugs. The methamphetamine was discovered in the fuel tank of the car. The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Navarro with conspiracy to import and sell methamphetamine, and possession. She has pleaded not guilty.
At this time, it’s unclear if there have been similar cases specifically related to GTA Online, but it certainly seems plausible that others have been recruited through the game. Forbes’ reporting points to other online games that have been used for this purpose, including GTA V and Free Fire. If this does become more common, it’s unclear whether developers will look for ways to prevent it from happening in their online games, or if there even are specific steps that can be taken. At the end of the day, players will have to be careful about their own interactions, and take steps to report those trying to use these games for illicit means.
GTA Online is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the game right here.
Are you surprised to hear that GTA Online has been used as a recruitment tool? Do you think there’s anything that can be done to stop this? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!
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