Saturday, September 30, 2023

A father and his three children were coyotes and demanded $8,000 to cross migrants, prosecutors say

A federal operation succeeded in dismantling a family dedicated to trafficking undocumented immigrants from the city of Tijuana, Mexico. The clan consisted of the father and his three sons who charged migrants up to $8,000 to bring them to California, the criminal file said.

A few days ago, the organization’s leader, Luis Antonio Méndez-Brahan, 55, was extradited to face multiple charges of conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants. If he is found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of up to ten years.

His three sons pleaded guilty to involvement in the conspiracy and were sentenced in 2021. One of them was already free and the other two were still in official custody.

The indictment against Méndez-Brahan, filed in 2019, describes him contacting migrants in Tijuana and charging them between $6,000 and $8,000 for transport to the United States.

The money was deposited into the bank accounts of his children, who lived in California. According to the Justice Department, this was a strategy to attempt to conceal their illegal activities.

His area of ​​operation stretched from Tijuana to Tecate. The guides took the illegal immigrants on foot to the places where they were waiting to transport them in cars to hiding places.

Court documents describe at least three groups, a total of 22 migrants, who were brought to the United States between August 18 and October 6, 2018.

However, the government believes that Méndez-Brahan’s gang was active from 2014 to May 3, 2019.

This is how human traffickers operate from Mexico

His children helped him transfer money

The indictment describes several transactions received by his sons, Christopher Méndez, 28; Wendy Monserrath Mendez, 24; and Nancy Jacqueline Suarez, 31.

His father, also known as “Don Tony,” used the services of money order companies to receive payments from migrants and their relatives in the United States.

“Border Patrol investigators traced financial transactions made by Méndez-Brahan’s children in the United States to money services companies based in Tijuana and ultimately to their father,” a statement from the San Diego district attorney’s office said.

His youngest daughter, Wendy Monserrath Méndez, denied in 2021 that she took part in her father’s activities. In a document provided by her lawyer, she said she received nearly $13,000 in 14 transfers, but believed it helped her in a car buying and selling deal.

“Over time, Wendy realized that the money deposited into her account came from foreign trade. “She committed the crime believing she was a good daughter and the original motivation was to help her father,” a document submitted to the court said.

“After understanding what was really happening, it was difficult to get out of the situation and he couldn’t find the words to say no to his father,” he adds.

This case was investigated by Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), which was established to dismantle organizations involved in human trafficking along the border.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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