News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coyotes' millions harder to move

Smugglers find higher hurdles to entrants' payoffs

By Mark Flatten


MESA — A truck loaded with 10 illegal immigrants is worth about $25,000 to a human-smuggling organization. A successful operation can move three or four truckloads of immigrants from the Mexican border to metro Phoenix every day.

A drop house with 50 immigrants locked inside represents about $125,000 worth of cargo.

With numbers like those, it doesn't take long to add up to the estimated $2.5 billion smugglers generate annually by moving human cargo through Arizona. That figure, which comes from court records, only counts the upfront costs to the immigrants, which typically run about $2,500 a head.

So much cash is generated by human smugglers that one of the toughest parts of running their business is moving the money, according to a series of police affidavits related to state efforts to seize the illicit profits.

Beyond prosecuting hundreds of people involved in human-smuggling rings on criminal charges, police and prosecutors are going after the money generated by the criminal organizations.

The Arizona Financial Crimes Task Force, made up of agents from federal, state and local agencies, has seized about $17 million in wire transfers believed to be linked to the human-smuggling trade since the force was created in 2000. The task force has also brought criminal charges against the owners and employees of several car dealerships and travel agencies that, according to the indictments, supplied smugglers with vehicles and airline tickets to move the migrants through Arizona.

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