Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are hard at work in the summer heat of Texas bringing criminals to justice. ICE special agents working with U.S. Border Patrol arrested 18 human traffickers, seized valuables such as cash and cars, and over 1,000 pounds of marijuana in a series of joint raids last month.
Homeland Security Investigations El Paso human smuggling group worked with ICE special agents and Border Patrol to form HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST). The agencies worked together to identify, locate and arrest human traffickers operating a smuggling organization in Southern New Mexico and Texas.
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Two of the human traffickers arrested in the raids are U.S. citizens and were charged alongside illegal immigrants with human trafficking. The U.S. citizens were Elias Serrano, 42, who has prior convictions for aggravated stalking, kidnapping, possessing a deadly weapon and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and Jesus Briseno, 25, who also has prior convictions for escape from custody, possessing marijuana, assault/causing injury to family member, and driving while intoxicated.
During the month-long investigation, the task force raided three homes arresting 117 illegal aliens in total. Among those illegals were a 34-year-old Guatemalan with an outstanding warrant out of Florida for driving under the influence, and also charged with illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation, a 30-year-old Mexican with ties to a Mexican drug cartel was arrested for fraud and misuse of visas, and a 32-year-old Mexican with convictions for child endangerment and driving while intoxicated, was arrested for illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation, according to ICE.gov.
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The investigation identified three stash houses with illegal aliens hiding there from Mexico (93), Guatemala (12), Honduras (6), Brazil (3), El Salvador (2) and Peru (1). Among the property seized were "nine vehicles, three tractor-trailers, and $20,000 in U.S. and Mexican currency."
Jack P. Staton, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso, said, "We remain steadfast in our commitment to vigorously pursue members of transnational criminal networks that exploit and endanger people they smuggle into our country. These smugglers are driven by human greed and heartlessness. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, such as Border Patrol, to maintain the integrity of our border and nation’s immigration laws."
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Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem, U.S. Border Patrol-El Paso Sector said, "This is a great example of the dedication and cooperation amongst area law enforcement agencies working towards the shared goals of securing our borders, protecting our local communities and our nation." Well done gentlemen and ladies, America thanks you for your efforts!
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