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Joint effort between U.S., Mexican authorities results in successful prosecution of human trafficking

January 5, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Joint effort between U.S., Mexican authorities results in successful prosecution of human trafficking

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A collaborative effort between Mexican and U.S. authorities led to the successful prosecution of a top figure in a human smuggling organization.

According to a recent press release, U.S. and Mexican Law enforcement officials hailed the bi-national partnership between the Mexican Attorney General Attaché’s Office (PGR) and the United States Border Patrol El Paso Sector’s Foreign Operations Branch, which resulted in the conviction of Santos Villalva Celedonio.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents arrested the 38-year-old Mexican national in Lordsburg, New Mexico after he illegally entered the U.S. with 17 other individuals back on April 12th.

During questioning, members of the group said Villalva Celedonio led them on a perilous journey over dangerous terrain into Lordsburg.

A background check flagged Villalva Celedonio’s extensive history in the human trafficking trade.

The evidence was presented to prosecutors to move forward with charges against the alleged smuggler.

However, after the case stalled, Villalva Celedonio was handed over to PGR officials in Mexico.

Border Patrol’s Foreign Operations Branch informed their Mexican counterparts based in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua on the details of the case.

A joint effort was launched under the Operation Against Smugglers Initiative on Safety and Security (OASISS) initiative, which targets illegal human traffickers operating in the border region, and works to increase border security, safety, and reducing deaths on the southwest frontier.

Mexican investigators immediately discovered that the members of the group hired Villalva Celedonio to smuggle them illegally into the United States.

The PGR presented the evidence before a presiding judge in the state court of Chihuahua, who issued a provisional arrest warrant for Villalva Celedonio.

The cooperating effort successfully resulted in the prosecution of Villalva Celedonio, who was sentenced on Dec. 27th to five years and four months in prison by a Federal Court in the state of Chihuahua.

The successful bi-national cooperation is being lauded in the landmark case in the El Paso/Chihuahua area under Mexico’s new judicial Penal System.

CBP and PGR officials said the new (OASISS) joint initiative will be used as the model by the two law enforcement agencies to combat human smuggling moving forward.

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