The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently detailed the disruption and dismantling of a human smuggling operation in Texas and across the southern United States.
Authorities indicated the operation in conjunction with Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA) included the arrest of eight alleged human smugglers.
The indictment alleges the defendants facilitated the unlawful transportation and movement of migrants within the United States in deplorable conditions for profit. The migrants were allegedly citizens of Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia, with the migrants or their families allegedly having paid members of the human smuggling organization to help them travel illegally to and within the United States.
The criminal human smuggling organization allegedly used drivers to pick up migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border and transport them further into the interior of the United States.
“At DHS, countering human smuggling is a moral imperative, a law enforcement priority, and a necessity for our national security,” DHS Deputy Secretary John K. Tien said. “It is a central plank of our efforts to address irregular migration across the western hemisphere and to hold transnational criminal organizations accountable for perpetrating vile and horrific crimes. We are unwavering in our commitment and sending a strong message: if you manipulate and imperil and take advantage of struggling migrants, we are coming for you. This investigation is a perfect example of how we’re bringing our agencies and components together to leverage the full force of the federal government to do just that.”
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. said the human smuggling organization operated on an enormous scale, placing a high value on financial profit while placing immigrants’ lives at risk.