News/US: INS breaks up immigrant-smuggling ring in Oceanside

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Subject: News/US: INS breaks up immigrant-smuggling ring in Oceanside
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 11:18:48 EDT


INS breaks up immigrant-smuggling ring in Oceanside
By Marisa Taylor
San Diego Union Tribune, April 27, 2000

OCEANSIDE -- A smuggling ring held dozens of undocumented immigrants in
squalid apartments here before driving them to jobs up north, immigration
officials said.

In an early morning raid yesterday, Immigration and Naturalization Service
agents arrested six people suspected of running the ring out of a house and
three apartments.

The agents also apprehended 56 undocumented immigrants who paid $15 a day
for the temporary housing and $1,200 per person for the journey north, said
Mario Villarreal, a spokesman with INS.

A 1-year-old girl, a 4-year-old boy and two teen-agers were among the
immigrants living in two of the apartments on Buena Street.

"The conditions were terrible," Villarreal said. "Insects were crawling
everywhere -- the apartments were infested. The stench was overwhelming.
The smugglers clearly had no regard for human life."

Agents seized about $33,000 in cash, 6,700 Mexican pesos and a loaded
.22-caliber rifle.

Oceanside police discovered the smuggling ring in February, then tipped off
the INS.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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