People have been arguing about the influence of video games for years, and Grand Theft Auto has been the go-to title that angry parents point at when they mean “video games teach violence”. In a very ironic turn of events, evidence has been found that an actual drug cartel has been using GTA Online to recruit drug mules.
Forbes reports that a Mexican cartel has been using the video game to find people that would smuggle drugs through the border for them. One suspect that had been apprehended recounts how she met a certain “George” in GTA Online, their friendship eventually evolved into them meeting in person, and that’s where the deal comes in. The site writes:
The suspect said that George asked her over Snapchat whether she’d like some work as a “runner,” shipping electronics so they could be sold in Mexico, telling her she could be paid as much as $2,000 a trip depending on how big the load was, according to the government filing.
The recruit would then travel to Mexico, pick up a truck stashed with drugs, and then drive back and drop it off to another stranger. It’s unclear whether the suspect knew exactly that they were moving drugs because the one in this case in particular is pleading innocent.
We don’t know if Rockstar Games will eventually try to fix this recruiting problem since it can very much happen in any place where you can meet strangers. The same site writes that kids had been hired to be cartel lookouts after they were approached in a mobile game called Free Fire.
I guess it helps to just be careful how you conduct yourself with strangers online.
Grand Theft Auto Online is available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 3|4|5, and PC.