Domestic abuse victims of cartel members seek help

An increased fear of Mexican drug cartels has more and more domestic abuse victims of cartel members seeking help.

Those victims are from both sides of the border.

" A lot of people are becoming more fearful of what (cartels are) capable of, said Amanda Garcia.

Garcia is a legal advocate at the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen.

The center offers a shelter for domestic abuse victims.

"Recently we had a victim, and her fear was the connections, said Garcia. I guess her husband was a cartel member. The certain connections he had there in Mexico, she felt if she went for help toward anyone, she wouldn't get anywhere."

Weary of often corrupt Mexican police, abuse victims of cartel members make their way to domestic abuse centers like the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen.

Garcia said the center faces different challenges when protecting cartel abuse victims.

The first step is to get rid of any possession that could be equipped with a GPS tracking device.

"That's the reason why her car was left here, and her phone, said Garcia. Usually they do that to track where she is at certain times. So we didn't want him to track her either to our office or to the airport or to where she may have been relocated."

These extra precautions affect children as well.

Family Crisis Center workers said kids are forced to give up any electronic toy in case a cartel member placed a GPS tracking device on it.

Drug cartels are known for intricate communications systems using GPS tracking devices and radios.

They are also known for gruesome murders.

According to Crisis Center workers, cartel members make similar threats to their abuse victims.

"That they're going to you know chop them into pieces, throw them out in the woods, bury their bodies, hurt their children, said Garcia.

Garcia said an abuse victim of a cartel member must make a quick escape out of state before her cartel abuser can catch up to her.

According to Garcia, the reality is that many victims don't get that far.

Instead, they often choose to go back to their abusers.

Workers at Family Crisis Center said domestic violence victims of cartel members are from both Mexico and the United States.

The center said they are available to give them help regardless of nationality.