ICE Teams Up With Guatemala Police To Bust 10 Suspected Human Smugglers Linked To 19 Murders

ICE teams up with Guatemala police to bust 10 suspected human smugglers linked to 19 murders

More than a year after 19 people were detained, shot and burned on their way to the United States, blaming Mexican police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that 10 Guatemalan nationals accused of organizing human trafficking have been arrested.

The suspects allegedly set up multiple similar operations – but failed attempts resulted in a bloody massacre south of the border that killed five children.

ICE and Homeland Security investigation officers have handled the case with Guatemala’s national police and the country’s special prosecutor for trafficking in illegal immigrants.

David Coronado Perez, who is alleged to be part of a human trafficking network, is being picked up by an officer in Guatemala City after his court hearing on Friday, February 4, 2022.  (AP Photo / Oliver de Ross)

David Coronado Perez, who is alleged to be part of a human trafficking network, is being picked up by an officer in Guatemala City after his court hearing on Friday, February 4, 2022. (AP Photo / Oliver de Ross)

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Carlos Gamara, HSI’s acting regional attache for the Northern Triangle, said the arrests had disrupted a “major human trafficking organization.”

“Hopefully, the outcome of this high-level arrest could bring some justice to the families of the victims,” ​​he said in a statement.

The suspects have been charged with human trafficking, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

In January 2021, 19 people, including 16 from Guatemala, were killed in Mexico on their way to the United States, according to authorities. They were shot, then burned at Camargo, near the Texas border. There were five minors.

The men, who are alleged to be part of a human trafficking network, are awaiting trial in Guatemala City court on Friday, February 4, 2022.  (AP Photo / Oliver de Ross)

The men, who are alleged to be part of a human trafficking network, are awaiting trial in Guatemala City court on Friday, February 4, 2022. (AP Photo / Oliver de Ross)

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Shortly after the attack, Mexican authorities charged a dozen local police officers with killing the migrants.

But the genocide also started the investigation of the smuggling organization.

At least one of the dead was believed to be a suspected smuggler, according to Aden Coronado, the group’s guide. He was the son of the alleged ringleader of the operation, David Coronado Perez, and the nephew of another arrested suspect, Ramiro Coronado, according to authorities.

On January 28, 2022, investigators issued 19 search warrants and arrested 10 suspects, including Coronado’s brother. They said they seized more than $ 200,000 in various currencies, five vehicles, dozens of illegal gambling machines and electronics – as well as a single firearm.

Juan Miranda, who is alleged to be part of a human trafficking network, returned to his place on Friday, February 4, 2022, after being questioned in a Guatemala City court.  (AP Photo / Oliver de Ross)

Juan Miranda, who is alleged to be part of a human trafficking network, returned to his place on Friday, February 4, 2022, after being questioned in a Guatemala City court. (AP Photo / Oliver de Ross)

The suspects were arraigned in Guatemala City court last Friday.

The ICE asks anyone suspected of human trafficking to report to local authorities or the Fed anonymously online at ice.gov/tipline or by phone at 866-347-2423.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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