The Texas border is lined with patrols who work to catch illegal immigrants trying to make their way from Mexico up into the United States. For many Hispanic families, the United States is a respite from the violence and drug wars that are occurring in their homeland. While these immigrants don’t have legal documents to justify their residency, they often fight to stay in the United States anyway. Recently, twenty people were indicted in connection with an immigrant smuggling ring led by the Zetas drug cartel. Federal officials say that the Zetas affiliates moved several hundred migrants from Mexico to Texas every month. Sixteen suspects associated with the ring were taken to jail in mid-September.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Zetas drug ring would steal cars from Texas and drive them down to Mexico. They then used the stolen vehicles to sneak immigrants to safe houses nearby the border. The safe houses are scattered from the Rio Grande to Austin. Many migrants were eventually taken from a safe house and transported further into the United States. Despite the smuggling, the drug ring had little regard for their cargo. One ICE agent says that the ring was only smuggling in order to make money, and had no other regard for what happened to their clients.
The operation was charging $2,500 per person for smuggling and would frequently extort immigrants for more money once they had them on board. The Zetas drug ring affiliates would threaten to kill client’s families if they did not pay the extra money. The violent and unscrupulous drug ring has since been broken up by the ICE. If you are an illegal immigrant who was brought to the United States by a smuggling ring like Zetas, then you are at risk to deportation if you are discovered. Talk to an immigration attorney at our law office today if you need representation in your case and defense against deportation.