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 21, 2008

Three men charged following takedown of human smuggling drop house

Smuggled aliens in home were allegedly threatened and sexually assaulted

LOS ANGELES - Three men, all Mexican nationals, made their initial appearance in federal court here this afternoon to face charges stemming from their role in operating a human smuggling "drop house" dismantled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in South Los Angeles earlier this week.

The three men were taken into ICE custody Wednesday along with 57 illegal aliens from Central and South America after ICE agents executed a search warrant at a trash filled two-story home at 10318 South Normandie. In addition to the arrests, agents recovered a .22 caliber pistol and stun gun inside the residence that the smugglers had reportedly used to threaten the smuggled aliens. Agents also seized several ledgers and notebooks containing information related to the smuggling operation.

In a criminal complaint filed today, the three defendants are charged with harboring illegal aliens, a violation carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. There are additional sentencing enhancements if the defendants committed sexual assault or brandished weapons during the crime. Those charged in the case are Jose Teul, 23; Daniel Pena, 18; and Saul Mendez, 35.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, the defendants often brandished weapons to intimidate their smuggled aliens. Several of the women recounted how Pena and Tuel attempted to force them to have sex, relenting only when the women's young children began to cry.

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