A network of traffickers operating in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States was dismantled, thanks to the cooperation of law enforcers from all countries in the region.
As a result of Operation “Lucero” (Starlight), at least 17 people have been arrested for human smuggling in El Salvador. Among those arrested, 7 are being accused of being “coyotes” (smugglers), 7 served as guides and 3 as transporters. Police made the arrests in Ahuachapán, Sonsonate and Lourdes, Colon in El Salvador, while similar operations took place in Guatemala and Mexico.
Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the Immigration Service and Customs Enforcement (ICE, for its acronym in English) said that such cases are important. “We know that through collaboration we can have a strong impact against these transnational criminal organizations,” she said. The investigation of the criminal network lasted eleven months. The three countries involved had assistance from ICE.
“I would like to thank the government of Guatemala and Mexico, which have worked with El Salvador in this operation,” she said. “What we’re doing here, standing together, hand in hand, is saying that we are here together, working hard to combat these networks” Gonzalez added.
The attorney general of El Salvador, Luis Martinez, said he managed to discover the network of gangsters who were operating in Guatemala and Mexico and El Salvador. “The detainees are accused of being part of the network that was responsible for smuggling people into the United States with help from other members in Guatemala and Mexico,” said the prosecutor.
Gonzalez concluded the conference with a clear message: “We want to appeal to the people so that they know that all these smuggler care about is money…They don’t care who dies, who loses an arm, or a leg, they do not care “.