A worldwide police enforcement action has arrested 49 suspected “people smugglers” who allegedly were charging up to $30,000 to enable people to enter the United States illegally, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Operation Andes worked across 11 nations on leads and carried out nearly 44,000 checks at air, land and sea ports.
Their intent was to identify and disrupt smuggling routes, and target organized crime networks, authorities explained.
During those four days alone, 18 were arrested on people smuggling charges, but many more previously were arrested.
International police authorities said the work began last winter during a meeting of the Specialized Operational Network against People Smuggling, which was held in Colombia.
There was sufficient evidence already to suspect organized crime networks were smuggling people from South Asia through South America and into the United States, said the international police organization INTERPOL.
Colombia arrested 31 and uncovered nearly $2 million in financial transactions at the time.
“In Chile, authorities uncovered migrants posing as crew members of a shipping company in order to obtain temporary visas. Migrants from Bangladesh presented immigration officers with false working papers and ship documentation, which had been provided by smugglers,” authorities said.
Police also reported units patrolling the coast of Nicaragua intercepted a speedboat carrying 21 migrants and two Nicaraguan smugglers.
“With another 13 investigations opened across the region, what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.