Officials: Teen Hitman Is US Citizen
It was 'kill or be killed,' says boy who worked for Mexican drug cartel
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2010 2:00 AM CST
Police stand beside a body on a Mexican street, one of a mounting toll of drug cartels.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A 14-year-old hitman who has admitted to slitting the throats of at least four people for a Mexican drug cartel boss is an American citizen, authorities have revealed. The teen, reportedly carrying a San Diego birth certificate, was arrested in central Mexico recently as he was about to fly to Tijuana. "We have confirmed the boy's US citizenship," said a State Department spokeswoman, who refused to release any other details unless permission is given by the boy's parents. She said the teen will be given all State Department assistance provided to Americans arrested overseas, including prison visits by officials, who will also offer information on local attorneys, CNN reports.

At a press conference after his arrest, the blank-faced boy said matter-of-factly about his victims: "I slit their throats." He said he was an orphan who joined the Pacifico Sur drug cartel when he was 12, and had to kill or be killed. He also said he was on drugs during the murders and not entirely aware of what he was doing. The director of a Mexican child advocacy group said parading the teen in front of the media was "completely inappropriate." Everyone "has the right to be presumed innocent," he added. "Also, It could put his life at serious risk. We have to remember that this is a fight between criminal organizations."