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2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends-FBI

2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends-FBI

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Many street gangs are becoming involved in alien

smuggling as a source of revenue. According to US law

enforcement offcials, tremendous incentive exists for

gangs to diversify their criminal enterprises to include

alien smuggling, which can be more lucrative and less

risky than the illicit drug trade. Over the past two years

numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement

agencies nationwide have reported gang involvement in

incidents of alien smuggling. In some instances, gang

members were among those being smuggled across the

border into the United States following deportation. In

other cases, gang members facilitated the movement of

migrants across the US-Mexico border.f

e

Alien smuggling involves facilitating the illegal entry of aliens
for fnancial or other tangible benefts. It can involve an individual
or a criminal organization. Business relationships typically cease
once the individual has reached their destination. Human traf-
ficking
involves recruitment, transportation, and harboring of
persons through force, fraud, or coercion for labor or services
that result in slavery, involuntary servitude, or debt bondage. The
business relationship does not end and often becomes exploit-
ative and violent.

f

According to the United Nations, over 90 percent of Mexi-
can migrants illegally entering the United States are assisted
by professional smugglers. Although most of the migrants are
smuggled in trucks, many have been smuggled by rail, on foot,
and tunnels.

Figure 7. An immigrant is
smuggled in a vehicle

Source: FBI

Increasing Coordination between Mexican
Drug Cartels, Alien Smuggling Networks, and
US Based Gangs

Federal, state, and local law enforcement offcials

are observing a growing nexus between the Mexi-

can drug cartels, illegal alien smuggling rings, and

US-based gangs. The alien smuggling networks

that operate along the Southwest border are un-

able to move human cargo through drug cartel

controlled corridors without paying a fee. The

typical Mexican illegal alien now pays approxi-

mately $1,200 to $2,500 for entry into the United

States. The fee is considerably higher for aliens

smuggled from countries other than Mexico,

which may even be more alluring for the cartels. It

is estimated that criminals earn billions of dollars

each year by smuggling aliens through Mexico

into the United States.

Source: House Committee on Homeland Security,
US Congress

24 National Gang Intelligence Center

The Barrio Azteca, Mexican Mafa, MS-13, 18th Street

Gang, and Somali gangs have all reportedly been

involved in alien smuggling, according to NGIC and law

enforcement reporting.

• In October 2009, ICE agents in Los Angeles,

California, arrested suspects linked to a drug

traffcking and alien smuggling ring with close

ties to the Drew Street clique of the Avenues

(Sureño) street gang in Los Angeles. The ring al-

legedly smuggled more than 200 illegal aliens per

year into the United States from Mexico, con-

cealing them in trucks and hidden compartments

of vehicles and then hiding them in a store house

in Los Angeles (See Figure 8).15

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