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Sunday, March 26th, 2023

U.S.-Mexico law enforcement collaboration takes down human smuggling operation

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The U.S. Department of Justice said a recent collaboration of U.S. and Mexican law enforcement resulted in an enforcement operation dismantling a transnational human smuggling organization in Nogales, Sonora.

“The Attorney General established Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA) to address the threat posed by transnational human smuggling networks, and this operation is a prime example of its impact,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said. “JTFA marshals the investigative and prosecutorial resources of the department, and its law enforcement partners, to target human smugglers and enhances coordination in transnational law enforcement efforts to better combat these criminal organizations.”

The Mexico Attorney General’s Office’s Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) conducted the enforcement initiative, which included the execution of six arrest warrants in Mexico for smuggling coordinators: Arturo Tienda-Garcia aka Tuercas, Jose Guadalupe Tienda-Garcia aka Pantera, Gilberto Escalante-Osuna aka Mochomo, Uriel Cruz-Tienda aka Quiqui, Cristal Tolentino-Hernandez and Alfonso Sotelo-Contreras aka Pajaro.

“Border security is less about erecting barriers between nations, and more about increasing cooperation among neighbors,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Gary Restaino said. “This operation is a stellar example of what can be accomplished when U.S. and Mexican authorities work together across the border. For years, these individuals have violated the laws of the United States and Mexico with impunity and their apprehension will make citizens of both countries safer.”

Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown of HSI-Phoenix said the agency is grateful for the collaboration with HSI Mexico City and partnership with the Government of Mexico.

“These joint efforts demonstrate the commitment of both of our nations to not let borders be barriers when it comes to confronting the transnational criminal organizations that negatively impact both of our nations,” he said.