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Washington, DC
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
This month offers a unique opportunity to build on existing momentum to eliminate this crime and ensure all people are treated with dignity and respect. Throughout January, law enforcement works with communities across the nation to promote the work being done to prevent human trafficking and support those who have fallen victim to these crimes.
Corpus Christi, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Federico Espinosa-Flores, 50, from Donna, Texas, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison followed by one year of supervised release for knowingly and intentionally conspiring to unlawfully transport illegal aliens.

Houston, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Albino Vargas-Hernandez, a 48-year-old illegal alien from Mexico, and Rene Camacho, a 47-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Houston, both pleaded guilty Dec. 12 to conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens. A third man who is also illegally present in the U.S., 21-year-old Mexican national Hiram Lamarca-Gonzalez, entered his guilty plea Dec. 4.

Charlotte, NC
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

While human trafficking can occur in a variety of scenarios and industries, indicators of trafficking activities often look the same across cases. Educating the public to recognize the signs is crucial to identifying victims and bringing traffickers to justice. HSI developed the Strategic Trafficking Outreach Program (S.T.O.P.) to raise awareness, as well as educate the public on how to report instances of suspected trafficking.

San Francisco, CA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
Northern California HSI agents relentless work on criminal investigations resulted in more than 1,000 criminal arrests, according to fiscal year 2019 data. Nationally, HSI agents arrested more than 37,500 criminals.
Oklahoma City, OK
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

The indictment against Rolando Cifuentes-Lopez, 36, states he engaged in this conduct from November 2016 to Jan. 18, 2019. The indictment against Eri Cifuentes-Lopez, 40, states he engaged in this conduct from January 2018 to Jan. 18, 2019. Eri Cifuentes-Lopez is also charged with illegally re-entering the United States. He was removed (deported) from the country Nov. 2, 2005, and was found in the United States on Nov. 20, 2019, without the consent of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Corpus Christi, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Kevin Kerr, 32, and Brianna Branch, 30, who pleaded guilty to the charges Aug. 29, were sentenced to 85 months and 70 months respectively. Both will also serve three years of supervised release following the completion of their sentence.

Kansas City, MO
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Independence (Missouri) Police Department, arrested 21 individuals between Nov. 12 and 14 during an undercover operation to combat human trafficking and vice for various crimes, including prostitution, promoting prostitution, possessing controlled substances, and weapons offenses. One individual was charged with violating the Mann Act.

Phoenix, AZ
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Saifullah Al-Mamun aka Saiful Al-Mamun, 32, was arrested in Brazil. Al-Mamun is charged in a superseding indictment unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas – Laredo Division, charging him with eight conspiracy and alien smuggling counts.

Tucson, AZ
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Jose Pastrano-Rios also known as “El Bigotes,” 53, of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico pleaded guilty May 9, to sexual assault. According to state court documents, Pastrano repeatedly raped a woman and subsequently threatened and intimated her. He will not receive credit for time served.

Corpus Christi, TX
Child Exploitation

David Wills, 67, the founder and part-owner of Global Blue Technologies in Taft, Texas, was convicted Oct. 8 of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, seven counts of sex trafficking, seven counts of coercion/enticement, one count of attempted coercion/enticement and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Laredo, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Rosa Elia Amaya, 27, from Laredo, entered her guilty plea Sept. 30 before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo. Judge Marmolejo is expected to impose Amaya’s sentence at a later date.

Dallas, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Tremont Blakemore, 40, was charged by criminal complaint with sex trafficking through force, fraud and coercion; he made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Rutherford Sept. 11.

Houston, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Following his Aug. 31 arrest, Milon Miah, from Bangladesh but residing in Tapachula, Mexico, appeared before U.S. District Judge Dena H. Palmero. At the hearing, Miah was charged with conspiracy to bring illegal aliens into the U.S.; Judge Palmero ordered Miah be held pending transfer to Laredo for further criminal proceedings.

Santa Ana, CA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Christian Alexander Augustus, 23, a.k.a. “Sir Ceeco,” was arrested in Stockton on Monday. He made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on August 28, and was ordered detained pending trial. He remains in federal custody in Sacramento and will be transferred to this district at a later date to face the charges against him.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.