Human smuggling operation uncovered on US-Canada border, 2 illegal immigrants arrested

Feb 5, 2024 | Political News

Two Illegal immigrants running a human smuggling operation on the US-Canada border have been arrested and charged while a third remains free in Canada. 

According to the Daily Mail, the gang of illegal immigrants ran their operation out of New Jersey and has been sneaking people across the northern border since 2019, charging $6,000 per person. 

Court records show that many of the members were caught in the act multiple times transporting illegal immigrants but released by authorities. 34-year-old Jhon Reina-Perez and 35-year-old Victor Lopez-Padilla, who are currently in custody, are linked to at least five incidents in which Customs and Border Protection (CBP agents) have caught coyotes bringing “at least 25 migrants” into Vermont from Canada. 

Documents show that Reina-Perez crossed into the US illegally in April 2022, and was processed and released into the country. Despite failing to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he was released again after being caught on foot near the Vermont border. 

Lopez-Padilla crossed the southern border illegally in June 2019, when he was processed and released into the country. He was ordered in 2020 to be deported after missing his immigration court hearing. 

On top of the two ringleaders, the coyotes working under them were stopped and released multiple times as well. In an incident highlighted by the Daily Mail, Elmer Bran-Galvz was driving near the Vermont border with four illegal immigrants in his back seat. 

Border Patrol Agent James Loomis said in an affidavit that the driver “admitted to picking up the four men after they had entered the United States from Canada.” He added, “Bran stated he had made similar trips six to seven times beginning in the fall of 2022.” 

Despite his admission, he was released and the Vermont district attorney decided to not charge Bran-Galvz in connection with the operation. 

Focus has traditionally been on the crisis at the border between the US and Mexico, but one northern border sector saw a 550 percent increase in illegal immigrants crossing in fiscal year 2023. In the Swanton sector, which covers New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, there were 6,925 apprehensions compared to 1,000 the year prior.