Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Authorities Break Up Immigrant-Smuggling Ring That Operated Partly out of Federal Immigration Agency

Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Authorities Break Up Immigrant-Smuggling Ring That Operated Partly out of Federal Immigration Agency

Article excerpt

The Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) has dismantled a major immigrant-smuggling network that operated partly out of the government's migration agency (Instituto Nacional de Migracion, INM).

The network, which had operations on both the southern and northern borders, charged foreigners hefty fees to smuggle them into the US through Mexican territory. Immigrants paid between US$2,000 and US$6,000, with the highest fees paid by Asians. Citizens of Brazil, Cuba, and Central American countries were also among the network's clients.

"The civil servants helped take the migrants to the border region in the north of the country, where they illegally provided them with official documentation and helped hundreds to enter the United States," Interior Secretary Santiago Creel told a news conference.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha said 44 members of the ring were arrested, including 26 current and former employees of the INM and Grupo Beta, the organization that assists emigrants at the border. Also arrested were 10 members of municipal police units.

Among other things, the PGR is investigating the bank accounts of the 44 persons arrested. The suspects could be charged with organized crime and migrant-trafficking and face sentences of 10 to 28 years in prison.

"We're not going to permit a single act of corruption," Creel said. "This is the signal we want to send today, that we are committed to efficiently battle corruption wherever it's found. …

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