More Than A Dozen Human Smugglers Wanted By The U.S., Including 4 Linked To The Death Of 1 Migrant, Arrested In Guatemala

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HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala (AP) — At dawn, police and federal agents with cover from helicopters flying overhead raided a large ranch nestled among the mountains of northern Guatemala, not far from the border with Mexico.

Inside authorities found horse stables, a swimming pool, late model vehicles, guns & a still drunk Felipe Diego Alonso, the alleged leader of a smuggling ring that moved migrants from Guatemala north to the U.S.

The raid was part of several carried out Tuesday in 4 Guatemalan provinces against a migrant smuggling ring, for which authorities say they’ve documented $2 million in revenue since 2019.

Alonzo & 3 others arrested Tuesday were targets of U.S. prosecutors, wanted in connection with the death of a Guatemalan migrant in Texas last year. In total, authorities nabbed 19 alleged members of the smuggling ring.

The extradition of alleged migrant smugglers known as “coyotes” has been rare & these would be the first known cases in Guatemala.

Prosecutions of migrant smugglers in Guatemala have proven exceedingly difficult because migrants are almost never willing to identify or testify against their smugglers. In some cases they hope for another chance to migrate to the U.S. with the smuggler’s help & in others they are afraid of the smugglers or their organized crime connections.

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