Cartel recruits left naked and fed to fire ants โ€“ or forced to eat own arm

Teenagers who were recruited by deadly drug cartels in Mexico have opened up about the horrifying methods criminals used to toughen them up.

Drug cartels in Mexico can offer people wages far greater than they can ever hope to earn leading normal lives, hence it is common for boys to move into a life of crime from a young age. But many come to realise the lifestyle isn't all to seems when they are put through horrifying training camps to mold them into cold-blooded cartel killers.

The UNAM Gazette reported the story of a man identified as Juan who was among a bunch of recruits subjected to torture with fire ants. The hellish experience was supposed to produce cartel thugs who "feel no pain".

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Juan and others were stripped naked and left in anthills, eaten alive by the insects. And those who refused suffered an even more gruesome fate. They reportedly had an arm chopped off, which they were then forced to eat, before being murdered and having the rest of their body dismembered. The remains were fed to dogs.

Other reports have also detailed the use of fire ants to put cartel recruits through their paces. Speaking to Telemundo, a young man identified as Francisco recalled how he was among 19 students of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel's (CJNG) "school of terror" from April to June 2018.

He said the recruits were taken to a camp in Talpa de Allende, Jalisco, and forced to wear two thick jackets despite the blazing heat. They were made to hold high-calibre guns in firing position for an hour. Then, roasted chickens were placed at their feet to entice the fire ants to start biting.

Francisco recalled: "It felt like my foot was asleep with all the ant bites, but I couldn't lower the rifle. They passed by behind you, looking at you, and hit you: 'Raise the rifle higher! Who told you to turn it down?' Our feet were red from ant bites. You hear the bolt of his rifle click. You know that if you don't obey, they will kill you."

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