Man admits using high school students to smuggle drugs across border

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO — A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty in San Diego Tuesday to leading a drug-smuggling ring that recruited teenagers and young adults to sneak large quantities of methamphetamine into the United States.

Roberto Torres Jr. — who, according to prosecutors, used Facebook to coordinate the narcotics-trafficking activity with his youthful band of smugglers — agreed to a use-of-minors allegation that will lengthen his potential prison term.

He faces 10 years to life in federal prison and a $10 million fine at sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 17, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Torres, a U.S. citizen, admitted that he and his fellow conspirators recruited dozens of minors, some as young as 15, from Imperial Valley high schools and elsewhere to transport the illegal narcotic out of Mexico.

Several of Torres’ co-defendants previously pleaded guilty in the case, including Hector Beltran-Garcia, 22, Diana Lizeth Carrillo, 21, Genesis Flores De Anda, 20, and Eleazar Sanchez-Aguilar, 39.