US prosecutor said that smugglers move immigrants in suitcases and empty water tanks to enter US.
As the Biden administration cracks down on groups encouraging a record number of border crossings, US officials presented indictments on Tuesday of a profitable human smuggling enterprise that reportedly includes moving people from the US-Mexico border in suitcases and water tanks.
According to U.S. officials and accompanying court documents, eight persons, the most of whom are residents of the United States, were accused for their roles in smuggling hundreds of people, some of whom were hidden in wooden crates on tractor-trailers with poor ventilation. The court record listed six other conspirators.
The indictments are a part of a larger U.S. endeavor. As border arrests have reached over 2 million in this fiscal year, which started last October, President Joe Biden’s administration is working to dismantle smuggling networks.
Erminia Serrano Piedra, a 31-year-old Texas resident known as “Boss Lady,” was named by U.S. prosecutors as the operation’s leader. They said that the operation earned at least millions of dollars.
Prosecutors said in a preliminary document that was released on Tuesday that Serrano Piedra deposited more than $1.3 million in two bank accounts between December 2017 and August 2021, but only disclosed $120,000 to financial institutions. In a U.S. court record database, no attorney for Serrano Piedra was listed.
Officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States said on Tuesday at a news conference in Washington that suspected smugglers had no regard for human life and were only interested in making money.
John Tien, deputy secretary of DHS, stated that “They have become increasingly intertwined with the cartels and there is increasing evidence of the abuse, exploitation and violence they perpetrate on migrants.” “For too long they have acted with seeming impunity.”
51 migrants died in a hot tractor trailer in San Antonio following an unsuccessful attempt at smuggling in June. In connection with that event, four persons, including the alleged driver, have been charged.