Two Men Convicted in Disturbing Border Scheme

Two Men Convicted in Disturbing Border Scheme

( – Two men from southern California have been convicted of collecting ransom payments from illegal immigrants at the US-Mexico border. The case highlights how illegal immigration, often presented as largely a humanitarian issue, can be dominated by organized crime.

Illegal immigrants aren’t always crossing our border on their own. Many are encouraged and assisted by human traffickers. Now, some of the traffickers have added a new twist. On November 15, the courts convicted two Los Angeles men for their part in a smuggling ring that kidnapped its victims.

From March to June this year, Edgar Lemus and Junior Martinez were ransom collectors for a cross-border gang. The gang would offer to help people cross the border but then abduct them and demand payments from their relatives. Lemus and Martinez met family members at stores in southern California to collect ransom payments and then sent the money to the ringleaders in Mexico. Often, the ring demanded multiple payments before releasing victims.

In many cases, illegal immigration is behind a horrific catalog of crimes. Traffickers often rob, rape or assault their victims. They abandon many illegals in the desert, leaving them to find their own ways to safety. Kidnapping wannabe border jumpers for ransom is just one more danger for those trying to enter our country illegally.

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