US Breaks Up Family-Run Human Smuggling Group

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A family-run migrant trafficking group, headed by an 84-year-old woman, has been busted by U.S. authorities, in a reminder of the changing nature of the human smuggling business.

Felicitas Gurrola ran an organization that would lead undocumented migrants over the border from Tijuana into California, using falsified documents.

As the Associated Press notes, Gurrola’s mostly-female team stands in contrast to the current trend in migrant smuggling, which often involves migrants being led through remote desert areas, and forced to pay large “taxes” to violent drug gangs.

InSight Crime has reported on this change in the business of smuggling migrants over the U.S.-Mexican border, with drug trafficking groups increasingly involved in the business, and incidents of abuse and kidnapping on the rise. These vulnerable individuals are often abducted by criminal gangs like the Zetas and held for ransom.

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