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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Is Human Smuggling A Baltimore Problem?

    Nov 13, 2005 8:46 pm US/Eastern

    Is Human Smuggling A Baltimore Problem?

    (AP) Baltimore, MD When three children were found nearly beheaded last year, police struggled to uncover a motive for the gruesome slayings. One possibility, illegal immigrant smuggling.

    Defense attorney James Rhodes, who represented one of the Mexican men charged with killing their young relatives, suggested that immigrant smugglers might have committed the crimes because of a lack of payment by family members for being brought illegally into the U.S.

    Human smuggling by criminals called "coyotes" is growing nationwide, touching even cities thousands of miles from the United States' border with Mexico. And it is becoming increasingly violent.

    "It's always been there; you're just waking up to the reality that it's there now," said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "This is something that is happening throughout the nation, even in Baltimore."

    ICE conducted 2,564 human smuggling investigations in fiscal year 2004 and 3,348 in fiscal year 2005, which ended on Sept. 30.

    Since 2003, there have been 5,460 criminal arrests, 2,880 criminal indictments and 2,358 convictions for human smuggling.

    In the last two years, ICE has probed five human smuggling operations in Baltimore and seized money from mugglers in amounts ranging from $150,000 to $1.3 million.

    "What you see now is traditional drug smugglers moving into the human smuggling element because it is more profitable and involves less penalty," Raimondi said.

    While a large portion of immigrant crime and human smuggling has taken place in the Southwest border of the United States, it's not limited to that area.

    "Authorities have seized millions of dollars nationally in human smuggling operations, including $7.7 million in fiscal year 2004 and $26.8 million in fiscal year 2005," Raimondi said.

    The latest Baltimore incident involved three illegal immigrants who police said forced another illegal immigrant into a vehicle with Texas license plates last month as the victim walked to work.

    The kidnapping occurred because Hugo Umana, 22, owed the men money. Police couldn't determine whether it was a smuggling debt, but Detective Maj. Richard C. Fahlteich of the Baltimore Police Department, said it was possible the suspects might be coyotes.

    The abductors offered to return Umana to his family for $600, police said, but officers tracked them to Virginia Beach, Va. Umana told officers at first that he hadn't been taken against his will, but that was because he was afraid of what would happen to him and he recanted that statement, Fahlteich said. Police said the suspects were in custody and would face kidnapping charges.

    "This is probably something that happens a lot, but is never reported," he said of the kidnapping.

    In the case of the three slain children, a jury was unable to reach a verdict on first-degree murder and conspiracy charges against Adan Canela, 18, and Policarpio Espinoza, 23. A new trial is scheduled for March 1.

    A police detective testified at the men's trial that he had tracked the history of the children's family and found out the
    family had paid someone to bring them into the country, but he did not know the details.

    Authorities estimate that human smugglers could make $1,500 to $3,000 per person, depending on the route. Raimondi said the price has gone up since border security was increased following the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Immigrants are sometimes brought across border using fraudulent documents. Once they are in the U.S., smugglers distribute them to different locations throughout the country. They serve as a guides for immigrants in their new locations and often place them in safe houses until they can moved into permanent homes and find jobs to pay the smuggler.

    "Smugglers provide far more than just getting someone through a cut in the fence," said Raimondi.

    Mike Albon, spokesman for the National Border Patrol Control Council, Local 2544 in Tucson, Ariz., a union that represents U.S. border patrol agents, said that a lot of profits have been made from smuggling immigrants.

    "The penalties and risks are not quite as great for smuggling immigrants as opposed to smuggling narcotics," he said. "There has been emphasis on narcotics for a long time, but I think prosecutions are picking up as far as immigrant smuggling is considered."

    He said smugglers have been involved in reckless driving accidents and shootouts along the Southwestern border.

    He believes the number of smugglers has probably increased recently, based on an increase in the number of illegal immigrants.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    From $1500 to $3000 to smuggle an illegal alien with that much money it is possible to create a few jobs in the Third World.
    I support enforcement and see its lack as bad for the 3rd World as well. Remittances are now mostly spent on consumption not production assets. Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    North Carolina
    What's happening to this money seized by ICE? Looks like there's major money here that should be used to fund many, many additional ICE agents.

    Also, what happens to people in US who conspire to smuggle these people into the US. If this isn't a crime, it ought to be. Those people should be prosecuted and deported.

    Lastly, what happens to these thousands of people who were smuggled. Have they been returned to the border?
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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