EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Four men and two women who allegedly smuggled migrants from Juarez, Mexico, through storm drains into El Paso, Texas, have been charged in Mexico for human trafficking and money laundering.
The arrests came after the Mexican army, acting on information stemming from a cooperation agreement with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), raided 10 homes in Juarez, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office reported on Sunday. The raid resulted in the arrest of the smuggling organization’s leaders and the seizure of guns, cash and 12 vehicles allegedly purchased with illicit profits, Mexican officials said.
The Mexican AG’s Office identified the suspects only by their first names. They are Jorge M., Jose Luis G., Sergio G., Jesus Q., Beatriz F. and Viviana C. They are all members of a transnational criminal organization and have been flown to the maximum-security prison in Almoloya de Juarez, near Mexico City, the agency said in a statement.
A judge there has issued the equivalent of a U.S. indictment on the suspects and ordered them held in federal custody and given prosecutors six months to present their case to the court.
“These people operated in Juarez and El Paso, Texas, illegally crossing migrants to the United States in exchange for large sums of money through the storm drain system that connects these two cities, in doing so risking every day the lives and safety of the victims, whom they crossed in deplorable conditions,” the AG’s Office said in its statement.
Border Report reached out to HSI for more information on the case and is awaiting a response. The Mexican AG’s Office did not say which organization or cartel the suspects allegedly belong to, nor if any arrests have been made on the U.S. side of the border.
In addition to HSI, the Mexican Criminal Investigations Agency (AIC) and the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime (FEMDO) participated in the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office said.
The El Paso-Juarez corridor was the busiest along the Southwestern border in terms of migrant apprehensions in the recently concluded fiscal year 2023. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 427,471 foreign nationals that entered the United States illegally between ports of entry between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows.