Alleged Human Smuggling Ring Sending Migrants to U.S. Busted in Brazil

Bangladeshi national arrested by a Laredo Sector Border Patrol agent. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector)
File Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/Laredo Sector

A multinational law enforcement investigation led to the arrest of three alleged human smugglers in Brazil. The ring is charged with trafficking migrants from East Africa and the Middle East to Brazil and then to the U.S.

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations announced on Wednesday, the arrest of three alleged human smugglers by law enforcement authorities in Brazil. Statements from ICE and the Department of Justice report that Brazilian authorities executed search warrants leading to the arrests of Abdifatah Hussein Ahmed (a Somalian national); Abdessalem Martani (an Algerian national); and Mohsen Khademi Manesh (an Iranian national), on charges they allegedly smuggled individuals from East Africa and the Middle East to Brazil. From there, the suspects would arrange to continue the smuggling through Mexico and ultimately, the United States, officials stated.

“We commend today’s efforts by our Brazilian counterparts to take decisive action under their recently enacted human smuggling laws against criminal networks that threaten the national security of Brazil, the United States and other nations,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a written statement. “Such collaborative efforts with our foreign law enforcement partners show our collective resolve to hold international human smugglers to account to the fullest extent of the law.”

The arrests fall under new human smuggling laws enacted in Brazil that are designed to target these criminal networks that are facilitating the movement of these migrants through Brazil and into the U.S.

“Transnational criminal organizations continue to use the smuggling of human beings as a means to a profit, no matter what their motivations are. HSI special agents remain committed to disrupting and dismantling these criminal networks, who seek to subvert the immigration laws of the United States” Jason J. Molina, acting special agent in charge of HSI Boston said in a written statement. “HSI Boston, in collaboration with partners from the U.S. Department of Justice and Brazilian law enforcement continue to break the scourge of international human smuggling through successful operations like this one. Make no mistake, illicit smuggling networks destroy the sanctity of our system, jeopardize the lives of its victims and present a threat to the national security of both the United States and Brazil.”

HSI Boston led the U.S. portion of the multinational investigation that included members of the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department, Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) along with the Brazilian Federal Police.

In September 2018, Breitbart Texas reported that Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended 650 Bangladeshi migrants during Fiscal Year 2018 who had been smuggled into Texas from Mexico. Border Patrol officials previously told Breitbart Texas that many of these migrants had been smuggled from their home country into Brazil.

In August 2018, Breitbart Texas reported the apprehension of a Pakistani man who slipped across the Mexican border into Texas in an attempt to surreptitiously enter the U.S.

As far back as August 2016, Breitbart News reported on the smuggling of migrants from countries with ties to terrorism through Brazil before moving on to the U.S.

Reuters reports:

U.S. agents deployed to an immigration facility on Mexico’s southern border have vetted the more than 640 migrants from countries outside the Americas who have been detained at the center since October 2015, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents reviewed by Reuters…

The U.S. agents’ findings come as Mexican immigration data show 6,342 Asian, African and Middle Eastern migrants were apprehended trying to enter Mexico in the first six months of this year. That was up from 4,261 in all of 2015, and 1,831 in 2014.

U.S. border apprehensions point to the same trend. Between October 2015 and May 2016, U.S. agents apprehended 5,350 African and Asian migrants at the U.S. Southwest border. That’s up from 6,126 in all of fiscal year 2015 and 4,172 in all of fiscal year 2014.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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