Andrew Gersh

Documentary Editor for the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond

Generation Z: Child Soldiers of the Zetas

Generation Z: Child Soldiers of the Zetas investigates a terrifying aspect of the drug wars that have raged along the US-Mexico border: the recruitment of child soldiers by the Zetas, the notoriously violent gang of ex-military commandos. For more than a decade, drug cartels have been battling for control of smuggling routes along the border. The violence has devastated nearby towns and claimed the lives of some 60,000 people. The Zetas seized control of one of the key cities in the region, Nuevo Laredo, and dominate the highly lucrative smuggling route across the Rio Grande into Laredo, Texas. To sustain their power, the Zetas have turned increasingly to the recruitment of adolescents – on both sides of the border – to serve as lookouts, extortionists, drug mules and killers. Generation Z explores the rise of the Zetas and their leader, Miguel Treviño, who aggressively pursued the strategy of recruiting child soldiers.

Generation Z is featured in “REVEAL,” a new, four-part series for public television presented by Oregon Public Broadcasting. It received the Grand Jury Award For Best Short Documentary at the 17th United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF).

Generation Z: Child Soldiers of the Zetas was produced and directed by Josiah Hooper for The Center for Investigative Reporting.

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