A Bangladeshi national pleaded guilty in a federal court in Laredo, Texas, on Friday to his role in a conspiracy to smuggle hundreds of his fellow countrymen into the United States. Prosecutors called the smuggling operation a “national security risk.”
United States District Judge Diana Saldaña in the Southern District of Texas accepted a plea of guilty from 39-year-old Mohamad Milon Hossain, a Bangladeshi national who formerly resided in Mexico relating to charges he conspired with others to bring hundreds of other Bangladeshis through Mexico into Texas. Hossain’s role was to maintain a hotel in Tapachula, Mexico, to be utilized as a human smuggling stash house, according to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the Department of Justice.
“Hossain’s brazen scheme to smuggle Bangladeshi aliens into the United States put our national security at risk,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a written statement. “This guilty plea underscores the department’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners here and abroad to disrupt the flow of illegal aliens into the United States and bring human smugglers to justice.”
The smuggling activity occurred between March 2017 and June 2019, officials stated. During Fiscal Year 2018, human smugglers moved nearly 700 Bangladeshi nationals into the Laredo Border Patrol Sector, Breitbart Texas reported.
“When you have countries like Bangladesh that have had potential ties to terrorism in the past — well, these folks that are coming from that country, what is their intent when they are crossing into the United States illegally?” then Laredo Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens told Breitbart Texas during a phone interview in 2018. “What is their ultimate destination? What is their goal?”
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Ryan K. Patrick added, “Border Security is national security. Our DHS law enforcement partners work on both sides of the border to make sure it is secure. The Southern District of Texas is on the front line of the fight against illegal immigration and we will continue to lead the nation in doing so.”
The judge did not yet set a date for sentencing in this case.
In August 2019, co-conspirator Moktar Hossain, 31, also pleaded guilty to Judge Saldaña, Breitbart Texas reported.
Throughout FY 2018, officials reported that most of the apprehended Bangladeshi nationals were adult males between the ages of 18 and 35. Recently, agents observed some unaccompanied minors and family units as well. Officials stated that Bangladeshis will pay as much as $27,000 each for the smuggling trip that leads from their home country and eventually to the U.S. border–mostly in the Laredo Sector.
Multiple Bangladeshi nationals smuggled into Texas provided statements to investigators about their experiences, according to court documents obtained by Breitbart Texas. Several men describe being flown from Bangladesh to South America, where they were forced to march through the Darien Gap from Colombia to Panama. The men claimed they were not given food for days as they made their way through the dense jungle. Some reported seeing human skeletons along the way.
The Bangladeshis would eventually make their way to the Texas-Mexico border where they would illegally enter the U.S. near Laredo.
“This plea is a clear statement that defendants who smuggle illegal aliens across the United States border for profit will face consequences in a U.S. courtroom,” Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio concluded. “HSI remains committed in aggressively investigating and prosecuting members of transnational criminal organizations that exploit and endanger the people they smuggle into the United States. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners both domestic and international to maintain the integrity of our border and the safety of our communities.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face