Pubdate: Wed, 22 Jul 1998
Source:  Vancouver Province (Canada)
Section: News A1 / Front
Author: Adrienne Tanner, Staff Reporter


`I know it's a bad thing': Honduran youngster tells how gang had him selling
to addicts in Vancouver

A 17-year-old youth yesterday told of his journey from the barrios of
Honduras to the Vancouver street corners where he sold drugs to survive.

Eduar Eduordo made the 5,000-km journey from Tegucigalpa on his own, hooking
up with other children and adults migrating to North America in search of a
better life.

Once in Vancouver he was easy prey for members of a thriving drug ring who
gave him food, shelter and took him to the immigration office to ``fill out
papers'' which were likely a refugee claim.

In return, he admits, he sold drugs on the corner of Main Street and East

``I know it's a bad thing,'' he says, bowing his head in shame. ``I see the
addicts on the street.''

Eduar is one of about 100 youngsters police estimate have been lured or
smuggled out of Honduras by a Vancouver drug ring.

Youth workers trying to help the young Hondurans say they become indentured
pushers, selling crack and heroin on the street to repay their shady

Eduar says he broke away from the ring because he was sickened by the horror
of the Hastings strip and realized dealing drugs would not buy him his dream
- -- ``going to school for a profession.''

Today, he attends English as a Second Language classes and lives with two
Central American adults who have construction jobs. At 17, he's a handsome
youth with flawless, tanned skin, a peach-fuzz moustache and hardened
muscles built up from the construction trade he entered at age 13.

His parents separated when he was a child and sent him and his kid brother
to live with their grandparents. He left the grinding poverty of Honduras
when he was 16 after his beloved grandmother died. He had 500 lempira in his
pocket, about $50 Canadian.

The money was enough for a bus ride to the risky Guatamalan-Mexican border
he crossed on foot during a gruelling 10-day hike through the mountains.
From there he hopped trains, zig-zagging across Mexico, through the United
States and finally into Canada, where he'd been told it was easy to get a
job. ``In one way it was an adventure, but I was always very tired.''

He loves Canada for its boundless opportunity and, with his baggy jeans,
Nike runners and white golf shirt looks every bit like the kid next door.

Some days, when the relentless stream of English seems as if it will never
make sense, he gets homesick. In his native Spanish, he writes home to his
12-old-brother -- who replies if he can scrounge up enough money for a stamp.

Friends back home sometimes write to ask whether they too should make the
trip north. ``They ask me, Are you living good or not? I tell them yes.'' 

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Checked-by: Melodi Cornett