A transnational illegal alien smuggling organization has been dismantled after an alleged human smuggler and others were arrested in Brazil as part of a collaborative effort between U.S. and Brazilian law enforcement.
Two alleged co-conspirators had already been arrested previously.
Saifullah al-Mamun, also known as Saiful al-Mamun, was arrested on Oct. 31 by the Brazil Federal Police on Brazilian charges, as well as charges in a U.S. superseding indictment that has since been unsealed. Al-Mamun is believed by U.S. officials to have been responsible for the illegal smuggling of “scores of individuals” from parts of South Asia and elsewhere, first to Brazil, and ultimately into the United States.
Al-Mamun was charged with eight conspiracy and alien smuggling counts by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division, according to the Department of Justice.
The operation involved multiple search warrants and led to the additional arrests of six Brazil-based human smugglers on Brazilian charges: Saiful Islam, 32; Tamoor Khalid, 31; Nazrul Islam, 41; Mohammad Ifran Chaudhary, 39; Mohammad Nizam Uddin, 28; and Md Bulbul Hossain, 36.
Al-Mamun, according to the superseding indictment, allegedly housed the illegal aliens in São Paulo, before arranging for them to travel through a network of smugglers operating out of Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico—ultimately to send them to the United States.
Al-Mamun and two of his co-conspirators were alleged to have been paid for their efforts in Mexico, Central America, South America, Bangladesh, and elsewhere, according to the indictment.
“Today’s indictment shows our commitment to prosecute here in the United States those alien smugglers who put our country’s public safety at risk by attempting to thwart our system of legal immigration,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement.
The United States is dealing with a rising influx of illegal aliens, most of whom are traveling through Mexico from Central America. As of September, there have been 851,508 apprehensions along the Southwest border in fiscal year 2019, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Two co-conspirators, Milon Miah and Moktar Hossain, who are both Bangladeshi nationals, were arrested separately earlier this year.
Miah was arrested on Aug. 31 upon arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston to face the charges laid out in the superseding indictment. He was formerly residing in Tapachula, Mexico.
Hossain, who was residing in Monterrey, Mexico, pleaded guilty on Aug. 27 for his role in the scheme, which sought commercial advantage or private financial gain.
“Transnational human smuggling organizations threaten the security of the United States,” Scott Brown, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Phoenix, said in a statement.
“Through a significant joint effort with our domestic and international law enforcement partners, these arrests signify another victory as we continue to investigate and dismantle those who conspire to undermine our nation’s immigration laws for their own profit,” Brown said.
The indictment against Al-Mamun and the U.S. assistance provided to Brazilian law enforcement were coordinated under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force program, which focuses on human smuggling networks that could threaten national security, public safety, or present grave humanitarian concerns.