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In July, Mexican marines captured the leader of Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, Miguel Treviño. Although Treviño is known for committing and ordering grisly killings, less is known about his recruitment of children on both sides of the border into the ranks of his Zetas cartel.

Days before Trevino’s capture in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, producers from The Center for Investigative Reporting were on the scene, investigating his penchant for developing teen soldiers. In exclusive interviews, CIR spoke with two former teenage assassins who say they killed for the Zetas.

Rosalio Reta, a Mexican-American who met Treviño when he was 13, says he killed 30 people for the Zetas. A young Mexican man in Nuevo Laredo also says he carried out targeted assassinations for the Zetas as a teenager.


Reporter: Andrew Becker
Producers: Josiah Hooper and Daffodil Altan
Co-Producer: Bruce Livesey
Editor: Angela Reginato
Camera: Josiah Hooper & Sharon Pieczenik
Associate Producer: Rachel de Leon
Script Consultant: Mia Zuckerkandel
Narration: Daffodil Altan
Intern: Andrew Nathan Bergman
Production Assistant: Owen Wesson
Supervising Editor: David Ritsher
Senior Producer: Stephen Talbot
Executive Producer: Susanne Reber

A production of The Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Andrew Becker is a reporter for Reveal, covering border, national and homeland security issues, as well as weapons and gun trafficking. He has focused on waste, fraud and abuse – with stories ranging from border corruption to the expanding use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles, from the militarization of police to the intersection of politics and policy related to immigration, from terrorism to drug trafficking. Becker's reporting has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and on National Public Radio and PBS/FRONTLINE, among others. He received a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. Becker is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Daffodil J. Altan is a video producer for Reveal. As a reporter and producer, she has worked in print, radio and film, and her work has appeared on the PBS NewsHour, Univision, Telemundo, FRONTLINE and in the Los Angeles Times, Latina Magazine and Mother Jones, among others. Altan has received awards for her work from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Los Angeles Press Club and the Imagen Foundation. She has been a Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellow and a John Jay/Langeloth Health Journalism Fellow, and she has been awarded a Latino Public Broadcasting grant. She received a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. Altan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.