Tuesday, Aug. 09, 2022|
Share this story
HUEHUETE-NANGO, Guatemala — At dawn, police and federal agents with cover from helicopters flying overhead raided a large ranch nestled among the mountains of northern Guatemala, not far from the border with Mexico.
Unlike the ranch’s impoverished neighbors, inside authorities found horse stables, a swimming pool, late model vehicles, guns and a still drunk Felipe Diego Alonso, the alleged leader of a smuggling ring that moved migrants from Guatemala north to the United States.
The raid was part of several carried out Tuesday in four Guatemalan provinces against a migrant smuggling ring, for which authorities say they’ve documented $2 million in revenue since 2019.
Alonzo and three others arrested Tuesday were targets of U.S. prosecutors, wanted in connection with the death of a Guatemalan migrant in Texas last year. In total, authorities nabbed 19 alleged members of the smuggling ring.
The arrests came a month after 53 migrants, including 21 Guatemalans, died in a failed smuggling attempt when they were abandoned inside a sweltering trailer in San Antonio, Texas. There was no indication those arrested Tuesday were involved in the San Antonio tragedy.
The extradition of alleged migrant smugglers known as “coyotes” has been rare and these would be the first known cases in Guatemala of smugglers allegedly pursued for the death of a migrant in the United States.
Prosecutions of migrant smugglers in Guatemala have proven exceedingly difficult because migrants are almost never willing to identify or testify against their smugglers.
Some of the detainees were flown to Guatemala City for their initial court appearances.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *