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      Cartels recruiting women to become trained assassins

      Women are now finding themselves in the ranks of drug cartels.

      UTB Government Department Chair Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera spoke to Action 4 News about the phenomenon.

      Professor Correa-Cabrera reports that women being involved in gun battles is not a surprise, especially since cartels have been recruiting men even teenagers in large numbers in recent years.

      "There are more women as killers involved in organized crime, performing different activities," Professor Correa-Cabrera said. "When Felipe Calderon started the so-called war on drugs in 2006 and he involved the federal forces in the fight, the organized crime groups started to recruit more men and also more women."

      Just this weekend, two women were killed in a gun battle in Reynosa across the river from Hidalgo. According to reports, the women were involved in a firefight with Mexican soldiers. Criminal organizations are apparently recruiting women in their 20's and training them to kill just as any other member of the cartel.

      "Some of them are exactly involved as a Sicaria, they distribute drugs as well and on a large scale," Professor Correa-Cabrera said. Sicarias, or female assassins, are fighting alongside their husbands and boyfriends or just joining the crime wave alone.

      "This is not only because the women are particularly interested it's because of the general economic trend," Professor Correa-Cabrera said. A former beauty queen was arrested recently after she was found riding with suspected gang members in a truck filled with weapons. In 2011, a woman known as La Flaka was carted away to prison. She served as the plaza boss for the Zetas drug cartel at one point. Cabrera says most of these woman are voluntarily becoming killers and there is no sign the trend is slowing.

      "We have more women who are willing to participate because of globalization, because of modernization, they are leaving their homes and have found another option to bring the bread to the table," Professor Correa-Cabrera said.