For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
I commend the great work of our special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. HSI worked with law enforcement authorities in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico to take down a human smuggling network suspected of illegally smuggling hundreds of individuals each week – including children and families – throughout Central America and Mexico into the United States.
Operation Lucero yielded 36 arrests in the region while law enforcement executed 56 search warrants throughout the three countries. As a result of this investigation, 14 separate smuggling routes have been dismantled at their points of origin in Central America and Mexico.
Operation Lucero marks an important success in our continued effort to dismantle human smuggling networks and further secure our Nation’s border. Last year when we experienced an unprecedented surge in illegal migration from Central America through Mexico and into south Texas, I directed DHS law enforcement components to quickly expand our efforts and refine our focus on targeting the smuggling networks that facilitate this illegal migration. The arrests are just one example of the daily efforts and disruptions that our law enforcement personnel accomplish with our international partners.
Overall, since these operations were launched in June 2014, HSI has initiated 594 human smuggling investigations, executed 1,244 criminal arrests, obtained 927 indictments and seized $807,117 in currency.
The Department of Homeland Security will continue to disrupt these smuggling networks as part of our broader security efforts.