Authorities Bust 160 Human Smuggling Stash Houses Linked to Drug Cartels
Jaeson Jones of Breitbart News reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials confirmed raiding over 160 human smuggling stash houses in South Texas so far this fiscal year.
On August 27th, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan retweeted a video from U.S. Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz depicting a recent stash house raid being carried out in Laredo, Texas.
With two months left in Fiscal Year 2020, the agency revealed in a post that it has already raided 160 stash houses, extracted over 1,600 people from these locations, and has seized stash house data as well. Stash house data is highly valued by law enforcement officials. Further, law enforcement officials usually want to acquire this data to determine the level of smuggling and trafficking that criminal networks are engaged in around the southwest border. Acquiring such data is no easy task.
Human smuggling operations are a crucial part of the Mexican cartels’ smuggling and trafficking networks at the border. Smugglers operating around the border rely on halcones (Spanish for falcons or hawks) as lookouts.
Jones described what these lookouts used on the border in order to facilitate their operations:
The scouts utilize two-way handheld encrypted radios and encrypted apps on cell phones like Zello. The scouts communicate directly back to Mexican smuggling and trafficking cells that work directly in collaboration with the Mexican cartels.
Through this network, hundreds of thousands of pounds of illegal drugs and hundreds of thousands of people are smuggled into American annually as they do all they can to escape law enforcement.
Jones explained the purpose of these networks:
The goal for these criminal networks is to get the product (drugs or humans) across the border and into a stash house as quickly and rapidly as possible in order to evade law enforcement. Stash houses are an important component in smuggling as they provide a blanket that masks criminal activity along the border.
Human smuggling is one of the many problems originating from Mexico, which has become a veritable failed state. U.S. policymakers will need to start taking border security seriously and keep mass migration in check as a means of preventing many of Mexico’s problems from spilling over into the U.S.