HEADLINES

Operation Mesoamerica: Arrested 41 People Linked To People Smuggling

By Alistair Reign, July 22, 2016. Alistair Reign News Blog.

During the month of July forty-one individuals linked to transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) responsible for smuggling hundreds of individuals through South and Central America into the United States were arrested by foreign partners  in two separate multinational operations under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ongoing efforts in the region as part of Operation Citadel.

Operation Mesoamerica” was a 15-month multinational investigation that began with a tip from the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Assistant Attaché Office in Merida, Mexico, and ended Tuesday, June 28 (2016), with the arrest of 27 individuals throughout Central America.

A second human smuggling investigation yielded 14 arrests on Monday, June 27 (2016), in Colombia.

Operation Mesoamerica” took place in Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. Among those arrested was Luis Leonardo Mejia Pasapera, the alleged head of a TCO operating in Guatemala and the region. Pasapera, a Peruvian national, was fraudulently living as a Guatemalan citizen. He was arrested on June 28 (2016) by the Guatemalan National Police in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Guatemalan officials issue arrest warrants during Operation Mesoamerica

Guatemalan officials issue arrest warrants during Operation Mesoamerica. (Photo: ICE).

This operation is a reflection of the multilateral commitment to identifying and dismantling criminal networks involved in the illicit movement of people,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “Through this effort, we are demonstrating that when it comes to protecting our borders, the international community will operate as one in a united front against those involved in human smuggling.

Evidence gathered during the investigation revealed that Pasapera worked with other TCOs in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador to smuggle individuals from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East through South America and Central America. According to court documents, Pasapera charged approximately $20,000 USD per individual.

Pasapera faces more than 20 years imprisonment, if found guilty.

  • The Guatemalan National Police arrested ten individuals, including Pasapera. Of those, one was an alleged corrupt Guatemalan National Police officer.
  • Guatemalan officials also executed sixteen search warrants at different locations throughout the country, seizing vehicles, motorcycles, guns, ammunition, passports and money.
  • The Panamanian National Police arrested seven individuals and executed six search warrants, while
  • Costa Rican authorities nabbed two individuals, executing two search warrants and seizing one weapon.
  • Salvadoran officials arrested one individual and
  • Honduran officials arrested six individuals to include two alleged corrupt immigration officials.
  • Nicaragua arrested a seventh individual, the main Honduran target, and will be turned over to Honduran officials.

All of the above are alleged to have been working with Pasapera.

The following ICE Attaché offices participated in the multinational investigation: Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, and El Salvador. HSI Washington, D.C., HSI New York and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) also assisted with the investigation.

Members of the Guatemalan National Police interview an individual during Operation Mesoamerica.

Members of the Guatemalan National Police interview an individual during Operation Mesoamerica. (Photo: ICE).

The following agencies conducted the arrests and are handling the prosecution of the cases: the Guatemalan National Police, the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office, the Salvadoran National Police, the Salvadoran Attorney General’s Office, the Panamanian National Police, the Panamanian Attorney General’s Office, the Costa Rican National Police, the Costa Rican Attorney General’s Office, the Honduran National Police and the Honduran Attorney General’s Office.

In a separate human smuggling case not linked to Operation Mesoamerica, the ICE Attaché Colombia supported the Colombian National Police in a human smuggling investigation that yielded 14 arrests in five Colombian cities and the execution of seven search warrants. Evidence uncovered during the investigation revealed that the TCO in Colombia was responsible for smuggling individuals primarily from Bangladesh through Colombia and Venezuela into the United States. During the operation, officials seized the equivalent of $6,000 USD in Colombian and Venezuelan currency and one weapon. The case is being handled by the Colombian Attorney General’s Office.

Operation Mesoamerica human trafficking operation conducted in Panama City, Panama.

Operation Mesoamerica human trafficking operation conducted in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: ICE).

Operation Mesoamerica comes under ICE HSI’s Operation Citadel, a multinational effort that focuses on increasing partner nation capacity to identify, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), and other support networks involved in human smuggling throughout South and Central America, and Mexico. The scope of the operation includes cross-border enforcement actions with partner nations, document and media collection at ports of entries and along illicit smuggling routes, and traditional training events.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Joint Task Force for Investigations (JTF-I) provided investigative and analytical support for Operation Citadel. JTF-I is one of three new inter-component task forces established as part of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s unity of effort initiative to better integrate DHS components’ capabilities, authorities and expertise.

Operation Mesoamerica human trafficking operation conducted in Panama City, Panama.

Operation Mesoamerica human trafficking operation conducted in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: ICE).

Through its International Operations, HSI has 65 operational attaché offices in 46 countries around the world. HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.


We welcome comments and conversation. Scroll down page to use the comment box.

Send inquiries and permission to re-blog article to Alistair.Reign@Gmail.com, thank you.

Click Picture for a Popular Article

  • Iraqi firefighters and civilians carry bodies of victims killed in a car bomb at a commercial area in Karrada neighbourhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 3, 2016
  • The teenager, Nihad Barakat Shamo Alawsi, was taken to Syria and then to the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul in northern Iraq, she told an event in London on Wednesday. "They raped us, they killed our men, they took our babies away from us," Alawsi, now 17, said at the event organised by the UK-based AMAR Foundation, a charity that provides education and healthcare in the Middle East.
  • Doctors Without Borders nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs, pictured in 2013, was sleeping when the airstrike pounded the Kunduz hospital. (Photo: MSF)
  • Mona Relief Charity on Go Fund Me makes it easy and safe to donate. No amount is too small, or too large.
  • The month is also a time of community; it is the custom for Muslims to invite their neighbours and friends to share their evening meal – iftar – and recite special Tarawih prayers in congregation. It is also a time when Muslims try to reconnect with the Qur’an, which they believe is the word of God. However, Children, people who are sick or who have mental illness, elderly people for example do not have to fast.
  • Journalist Deniz Yücel, along with four others, have been jailed pending trial on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting the public to violence.
  • ery same government who deliberately allowed this occupation to take place last fall. Regardless of what is happening with a possible injunction application, I urge every person to call the Premier’s office in the morning, telling her she has to get her administration working overtime to get rid of tent city and under no circumstances to move this horror story a block away into Mt. Edwards where we’ll then have a PERMANENT tent city indoors, with all the same shit going on every day and night!
  • A 29-year-old woman who was raped in October 2015 by peacekeepers stationed in Bambari, Central African Republic. © 2015 Lewis Mudge/Human Rights Watch
  • Mission The Islamic State are trying to create 'a state that does not recognise the previous borders of Iraq or Syria,' said Dr. Anne Aly, a Research Fellow at Curtin University. (Photo/source: Daily Mail Australia).
  • trump and kim Korea Summit ft
  • Yemen is the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, with more than 40 percent of people living below the poverty line Reuters

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • GOP Caption winner first place on AlistairReignBlog.com
  • Paul Ryan Retires
  • Who is PM Stephen Harper
  • Britney Spears Looking Hot in black leather in Toxic music video. who was sexiest? Britney in Toxic or Taylor Swift in Bad Blood
  • Donald Trump kissing his daughter
  • The Donalds invade Washington Caption This photo winner 1The Donalds invade Washington Caption This photo winner 1
  • al-Batshit-Assad
  • What if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States?
  • Nicki 'Minnie' Minaj
  • Satire: USA Denies Whites Can Be Terrorist
  • Includes Meryl Streep's full Golden Globe speech, a peek at her stage performance where she play Donald Trump, SAG Speeches: Ashton Kutcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, Lily Tomlin and others, as well as talk show host's comments and interviews. Tied together with indie music and skits of Peter Griffin of Family Guy playing Donald Trump.

Start a Conversation or Write a Caption This joke.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.