Guatemalan Recruited Illegal Immigrants from India, Smuggled Them Through Central America to U.S.

25 Apr 2016

A woman from Guatemala has been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in a smuggling operation that recruited illegal immigrants in India and smuggled them through Central America into the United States.

According to the Department of Justice, Rosa Astrid Umanzor-Lopez was extradited to the U.S. from Guatemala and pled guilty to conspiracy to smuggle illegal immigrants to the U.S. U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr. sentenced Umanzor-Lopez to 36 months in prison on Friday. She is expected to be deported once she is released from prison.

Umanzor-Lopez admitted to officials that she and her conspirators recruited Indian nationals, willing to pay high sums of money, to be smuggled illegally into the U.S. from January 2011 and Feb. 4, 2014, the day of her arrest in Guatemala. The scheme also involved carrying out the smuggling through a network from South America, through Central America, and into the U.S.

“For their smuggling operations, Umanzor-Lopez and her co-conspirators used a network of facilitators to transport groups of undocumented migrants from India through South America and Central America and then into the United States by air travel, automobiles, water craft and foot, she admitted,” the Justice Department wrote in a release.

“Umanzor-Lopez also admitted that many of these smuggling events involved illegal entry into the United States via the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen and Laredo, Texas,” it added.

Three of Umanzor-Lopez’s conspirators have already been sentenced and convicted and one remains a fugitive, according to the Justice Department.

The phenomena of illegal immigrants other than Mexicans and Central Americans accessing the U.S. via the southern border has generated renewed concern in recent years due to threats from terrorist groups seeking to entry the U.S. Many have pointed to the porous southern border as a significant vulnerability to keeping such threatening forces out of the country.