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Mexico finds "El Ponchis," an American teen, guilty of beheadings

Mexico finds a 14-year-old American guilty of torture, murders and kidnappings.

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A Mexican soldier escorts Edgar Jimenez Lugo, known as "El Ponchis," in Cuernavaca, Morelos State, Mexico, on December 2, 2010. (David Monroy/Antler)

A court in Mexico reportedly found an American teenager, who goes by the nickname "El Ponchis," guilty of torture, murder and kidnappings.

Edgar Jimenez, 14 years old, was convicted of torturing and beheading at least four people and kidnapping three others, CNN reports. The bodies were found hanging from a bridge near Mexico City last year.

CNN states the judge sentenced El Ponchis to three years in a correctional facility, the maximum permissible given that he is a minor, and ordered that he pay a fine of 4.5 million pesos, the equivalent to about $400,000.

(More from GlobalPost: VIDEO: Front lines of Mexico's drug war)

Mexican soldiers captured Jimenez last December near Mexico City when he attempted to catch a flight to Tijuana to travel to the United States, Reuters reports. He had been working for the South Pacific drug cartel in Morelos outside Mexico City.

Around 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the last four and a half years as the government battles with drug cartels.

Minors like El Ponchis have been increasingly drawn into the conflict. When this case attracted international attention -- a result of the brutality of the case, the young age of the offender and the willingness of Jimenez to provide on-camera descriptions of the killings -- analysts used it as an example of how drug cartels are recruiting more youth, CNN states.

"The next generation of teenage killers aren't just spilling blood in street clashes; some are working as hit men for Mexico's psychopathic criminal armies," stated a TIME article last December.

"Youth prisons in Mexico are now full of minors who have been arrested for crimes linked to the drug war."

Jimenez was born in San Diego and is an American citizen.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/110727/mexico-el-ponchis-guilty-american-teen