Eighteen human smugglers and 117 illegal aliens were detained in raids on safe houses in El Paso, Texas, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The raids were conducted last month but were announced by ICE in a statement on Friday.
“Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and agents with U.S. Border Patrol arrested 18 alien smugglers and seized cash, vehicles and more than 1,000 lbs. of marijuana last month in a joint effort,” the statement read.
“Special agents assigned to HSI El Paso’s human smuggling group and Border Patrol agents, who are part of HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST), worked together to identify, locate and arrest smugglers operating alien smuggling organizations in southern New Mexico and the El Paso area.”
Three tractor-trailers, and nine vehicles, and $20,000 in US and Mexican currency were also seized in the raid.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to vigorously pursue members of transnational criminal networks that exploit and endanger people they smuggle into our country,” said Jack P. Staton, special agent in charge of HSI.
“These smugglers are driven by human greed and heartlessness. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, such as Border Patrol, to maintain the integrity of our border and nation’s immigration laws.”
The illegal aliens arrested came from Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, and El Salvador, highlighting that the influx of illegal immigration into the U.S. doesn’t stem from the political persecution of a particular regime, but from the failures of socialist governments to tamp down regional cartel and gang violence.