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08/20/2019
Boston, MA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

The enforcement operation included the execution of multiple search warrants and the arrests of three prolific, Brazil-based human smugglers on Brazilian charges:  Abdifatah Hussein Ahmed (a Somalian national); Abdessalem Martani (an Algerian national); and Mohsen Khademi Manesh (an Iranian national).

08/15/2019
New York, NY
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Jose Miguel Melendez-Rojas was arrested in February 2019 in Mexico following the joint investigation, and is charged with five co-defendants: two were extradited from Mexico to the United States in October 2018, and three were previously arrested in the United States. He faces an 18-count indictment charging him with sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking of minors, interstate prostitution, alien smuggling and money laundering conspiracy.

08/13/2019
Corpus Christi, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

During the two-day trial, the jury heard testimony that on April 15, 2019, Heriberto Lerma, 42, Pharr, Texas, drove a tractor trailer into the Border Patrol Checkpoint south of Sarita shortly after 1 a.m. Lerma told agents he was traveling alone and that he was hauling building materials. However, authorities noticed the bill of lading and the seal placed on the door of the trailer did not match.

08/10/2019
San Salvador, El Salvador
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence visited El Salvador from August 9-10, 2019. The purpose of the acting director’s visit was to discuss ICE enforcement priorities and the agency’s commitment to dismantle networks involved in human smuggling.

08/09/2019
St, Thomas, VI
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

According to court documents unsealed Thursday, between December 2018 and August 2019, Yohanna Gonzalez-McFarlane, 38, of the Dominican Republic, operated the Underground Nightclub in St. Thomas. She recruited young foreign women and arranged to have them smuggled into the U.S. Virgin Islands to engage in prostitution while working at the bar. Gonzalez-McFarlane then housed the women at a residence in St. Thomas and required them to engage in commercial sex at the defendant’s nightclub to repay their smuggling debts.

08/01/2019
Detroit, MI
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Darrick Bell, 50, aka Tone or Ghost, a U.S. citizen, was the subject of a nearly three-year manhunt, following the takedown of a large-scale human trafficking operation at the now-demolished Victory Inn Motel in Detroit.

07/31/2019
Washington, DC
Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
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HSI’s forced labor programs coordinate and initiate criminal investigations into U.S.-bound supply chains whose goods are made wholly or in part by means of forced labor.

07/25/2019
Boston, MA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
Reginald Abraham, 51, was convicted in Boston of four counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. Abraham, who was arrested, charged and has been held in federal custody since September 2017, will remain in custody until his sentencing in November.
07/12/2019
New York, NY
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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A five-count superseding indictment was unsealed Friday in federal court in Brooklyn charging R&B singer “R. Kelly” with racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.

06/17/2019
Topeka, KS
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Evan H. Vollerthum, 35, of Naples, Florida, was arrested Monday for aggravated human trafficking and attempted commercial sexual exploitation of a child.

06/13/2019
Houston, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Marquis Holmes, 28, from Katy, Texas, pleaded guilty June 13 to one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by means of force, fraud and coercion; two counts of transportation to engage in prostitution; and two counts of enticing and coercing another to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution.

06/11/2019
New York, NY
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Claudius English, 45, was convicted June 10 in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) for multiple counts of sex trafficking minors, attempted sex trafficking of minors as young as 8 years old, kidnapping of a minor, and using a firearm to commit the kidnapping.

06/10/2019
Laredo, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Samuel Vasquez-Morales, 18, from Mexico,  pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to transport illegal aliens from China and Brazil within the United States.

06/07/2019
Corpus Christi, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Authorities arrested Ivan Dario Puga-Moreno, 23, of Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, on June 6, 2019, in Houston, Texas. He made his initial appearance June 10 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo in Houston.

06/06/2019
San Francisco, CA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Fresno HSI agents completed a two-day training for local law enforcement officers, analysts, and prosecutors, Wednesday, June 6. During this event, participants received the latest information about federal human trafficking investigations and about proven law enforcement best practices to implement.

06/05/2019
McAllen, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Starlin Alfredo Martinez-Morales, 24, from Honduras was originally charged by criminal complaint May 10, 2019.  On June 5, a federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment. He will soon appear for his arraignment before a U.S. magistrate judge.

06/04/2019
Los Angeles, CA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Naasón Joaquín García (Joaquín García) and his co-defendants allegedly committed these crimes between 2015 and 2018 while leading La Luz Del Mundo, an international religious organization headquartered in Mexico with reportedly more than one million followers worldwide.

06/04/2019
Beaumont, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Jorge Gonzalez-Ramirez, 27, Guatemala, and Joel Sanchez-Guzman, 25, Mexico, both pleaded guilty to their criminal charges June 4.

05/24/2019
Charlotte, NC
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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As part of the operation, law enforcement teams engaged with more than 15 potential human trafficking victims and gathered intelligence on potential traffickers. Eleven victims agreed to provide details on their situations to law enforcement, and several victims were paired with victim service representatives who can help the victims rebuild their lives through access to housing, medical care, legal assistance, transportation and more.

05/21/2019
McAllen, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Osvaldo Gonzalez, 26, from Mission, Texas, was sentenced May 21 by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane to 262 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release.  Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the human smuggling charges Nov. 2, 2018.

05/16/2019
Washington, DC
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Amilcar Guiza-Reyes, a 51-year old citizen and national of Honduras, who was previously deported in 2013, made an initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Texas May 10, charged with 8 USC 1324 alien smuggling for allegedly smuggling a 6-month-old infant across the U.S.-Mexico border.

05/13/2019
Fresno, CA
Narcotics

U.S. AttorneyMcGregor W. Scott announced Thursday that a federal jury found Filiberto “Beto” Chavez, 37, of Fresno, guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to engage in interstate travel for prostitution and two counts of use of a facility of interstate commerce to promote prostitution,.

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