Smugglers put migrants in suitcases, empty water tanks, U.S. prosecutors allege By Reuters



By Ted Hesson and Kristina Cooke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities unveiled indictments on Tuesday of a profitable human smuggling operation that allegedly included shifting migrants in suitcases and water tanks from the U.S.-Mexico border, because the Biden administration cracks down on teams fueling a file variety of border crossings.

Eight individuals, largely U.S. residents, have been indicted for his or her roles in smuggling a whole lot of individuals, some hidden in wood crates on tractor-trailers with little air flow, in response to U.S. officers and associated courtroom paperwork. One other six co-conspirators have been cited within the courtroom file.

The indictments are a part of a broader effort by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to disrupt smuggling networks as border arrests close to 2 million this fiscal 12 months, which started final October.

U.S. prosecutors recognized Erminia Serrano Piedra, a 31-year-old Texas resident referred to as “Boss Girl,” because the chief of the operation, which they mentioned generated at the least thousands and thousands of {dollars}.

Serrano Piedra deposited greater than $1.3 million in two financial institution accounts between December 2017 and August 2021, however reported solely $120,000 to monetary establishments, prosecutors alleged in a pretrial movement unsealed on Tuesday. No lawyer for Serrano Piedra was listed in a U.S. courtroom file database.

At a information convention in Washington on Tuesday, U.S. officers with the Division of Justice and the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) mentioned alleged smugglers have been detached to human life and anxious solely with income.

“They’ve turn into more and more intertwined with the cartels and there may be growing proof of the abuse, exploitation and violence they perpetrate on migrants,” mentioned John Tien, DHS deputy secretary. “For too lengthy they’ve acted with seeming impunity.”

In June, 53 migrants died after they have been trapped in a sweltering tractor trailer in San Antonio throughout an unsuccessful smuggling try. 4 males, together with the alleged driver, have been charged in that incident.

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