8 Indicted on Human-Smuggling Charges

Article excerpt

Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Eight members of a California-based ring suspected of bringing as many as 100 illegal aliens a month into the United States have been indicted by a federal grand jury after a two-year investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said Wednesday that among those charged was the man suspected of leading the organization, Emilio Mayorales, 42, who was arrested at his Anaheim, Calif., residence.

Also under indictment is Mauro Perez, 49, proprietor of the Aero Paris travel agency in Anaheim, Ms. Zuieback said. According to the indictment, Mr. Perez obtained plane tickets for the smuggling organization's clients, knowing the tickets were being used by illegal aliens.

"With this week's arrests, we have dismantled a major human-smuggling network operating in Orange and San Bernardino counties," said Kumar Kibble, an ICE agent in Orange County. "As this case shows, ICE is targeting not only the criminal networks directly responsible for the smuggling activity, but also those businesses that provide logistical support that helps further this highly lucrative illegal enterprise."

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, has made human-trafficking operations a priority issue. The agency's fiscal 2006 budget adds 250 criminal investigators to better target the smuggling organizations.

Ms. Zuieback said the eight suspects were named in a five-count federal grand jury indictment handed up in U. …