Attorney General announce initiative to combat human smuggling, trafficking in Central America

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HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO)—U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced Monday the establishment of a law enforcement task force to enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

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According to a news release, Joint Task Force Alpha is a law enforcement task force that will marshal the investigative and prosecutorial resources of the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Joint Task Force will consist of federal prosecutors from U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the Southwest Border (District of Arizona, Southern District of California, Southern District of Texas, and Western District of Texas), from the Criminal Division and the Civil Rights Division, along with law enforcement agents and analysts from DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol.

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The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration will also be part of the Task Force. And it will work closely with Operation Sentinel, a recently announced DHS operation focused on countering transnational criminal organizations affiliated with migrant smuggling.

“Transnational human smuggling and trafficking networks pose a serious criminal threat,” said Attorney General Garland. “These networks profit from the exploitation of migrants and routinely expose them to violence, injury, and death.”

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“In our continued efforts to disrupt transnational criminal organizations, and smuggling and trafficking enterprises, the Department of Homeland Security will partner with the Department of Justice to launch Joint Task Force Alpha,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We will take action to identify smugglers and their associates to ensure that we enhance the security of the U.S. border, and help save the lives of vulnerable people these organizations routinely prey upon.”

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