Cartel Money Man: “We Control All the Territory” Used to Smuggle Migrants
Cartel Money Man: “We Control All the Territory” Used to Smuggle Migrants by Luis Miguel for New American
The fight to protect the border, part of the greater war to preserve America’s national sovereignty, has a multi-faceted and ever-changing landscape. Criminal cartels and human smugglers have adapted to the Trump administration’s efforts to thwart illegal migration.
As part of a recent report, the Associated Press spoke with a human smuggling “money man” identified only as Manuel.
“We control all the territory” along the Arizona border he told AP, which wrote that Manuel works for the Sinaloa cartel. He claimed to handle the income from smuggling migrants along a 375-mile territory along the U.S.-Mexico border — a jurisdiction that brings in an average or $1 million a month in illegal money.
The Mexican government has calculated that the total annual income of the migrant smuggling business on the southern border is as high as $6 billion a year.
“It’s a business that you’re not going to stop,” said Manuel, who said the cartels work in league with local and federal authorities in places like Nogales, Sonora, which borders with Nogales, Arizona.
According to Manuel, the cartel pays $25,000 a month each to Mexico’s local, state, and federal police and to the National Guard. While the Mexican army does not accept the bribe, they allegedly turn a blind eye in exchange for favors.
Manuel explained that the cartel rents its territory to local criminal organizations. Smugglers offer a variety of border-crossing options to migrants depending on how much they’re willing to pay.
A migrant may choose, for instance, to walk two hours, three days, or seven days through the Arizona desert. The most expensive option is walking right through an official U.S. border crossing with a “renter visa.”
These are legitimate U.S.-issued visas that are rented to illegal aliens for a fee. The key, Manuel said, is to “find someone who looks similar” to the migrant and the hope the border official is either fooled or willing to accept a bribe.