In a press release yesterday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced that within a time-frame of less than a month, Homeland Security agents have arrested and charged 192 smugglers and their associates, more than 501 undocumented immigrants have been taken into custody and more than $625,000 in illicit profits have been seized from 288 bank accounts held by human smuggling and drug trafficking organizations. This aggressive effort was put forth after it was made known by the media that thousands upon thousands of illegal adults, babies and children were invading the United States for over a year.
One can not help but think, if this effort had been done when the illegal invasion had begun instead of letting it carry on so long, the crisis that we have today may not have come about. Homeland Secretary Johnson also noted that they will go after any financial gains that are made by the human traffickers, including money laundering activities here in the United States, as well as any money activities in Mexico and Central America. Focusing on the sophisticated ways that are used in transnational human and drug smuggling operations and the gaming of financial systems to further their transnational criminal activities.
In order to pursue and dismantle human smuggling organizations, ICE Homeland Security Investigations has deployed 60 additional criminal investigators and support personnel to their San Antonio and Houston offices for this purpose, as well as supplementing this with additional intelligence and programmatic support from ICE headquarters. On June 30, 2014, Homeland Secretary Johnson announced the deployment of approximately 150 U.S. Border Patrol agents to the Rio Grande Valley Sector.
Some of their efforts include, Operation Southern Crossing in May along the Southwest border, in which they arrested 163 illegal smugglers. Homeland Security special agents also obtained 60 indictments and 45 convictions, seized 29 vehicles, nine firearms and more than $35,000 in illicit proceeds. This July, HSI special agents arrested a Honduran national for human smuggling in San Antonio, Texas. He was not only the leader of a illegal immigrant smuggeling organization, he had been previously convicted of cocaine smuggling.