Human Trafficking Ring Busted Down South

Human trafficking is a massive problem globally and inside the United States.

In fact, last year alone, there were 10,583 human trafficking cases reported. The real numbers are estimated to be much higher, including the thousands who never speak out or are forced into silence.

This week, a human trafficking ring was busted down south in Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. The kingpin of the operation was arrested. Here’s what happened…

‘Boss Lady’ Busted for Cruel Migrant Trafficking Business

On Tuesday, police arrested eight individuals for being part of a human trafficking group profiting from desperate illegal immigrants trying to get into the United States.

According to reports, this group of traffickers was led by a woman named Erminia Piedra, who others refer to as “Boss Lady.”

Her seven compatriots and she ran a large-scale trafficking operation. They made huge money while transporting illegal immigrants from Central and Latin America in dangerous, harmful conditions.

The issue of dishonest, dirty individuals profiting from the crisis at the southern border is not only in other countries, of course, but also right inside the United States with individuals like Piedra.

The DOJ is also looking to seize more than $2 million in equipment and properties being used to traffic these poor people.

Assistant Attorney General Ken Polite said the main motivation behind Piedra and her crew’s action was simple “personal greed.” They were so hungry for profits they often put minimal concern into the basic safety and needs of those they were trafficking.

Court Appearances Coming Up

The crew of eight including Piedra will be showing up in court in the next day or two. Piedra’s hearing will happen Friday.

According to the DOJ, most of the people she and her squad were trafficking were Colombian, Mexican, and Guatemalan.

They would be brought to secret locations and kept in run-down housing to be hidden. In order to get across the US border, people were even made to crawl into zipped-up suitcases and get inside water tanks to hide.

Profits were apparently very good for Piedra and her collaborators, with migrants shelling out up to $2,500 USD each.

That’s a lot of money to get stuffed inside a wooden box or forced into the corner of a tractor-trailer with barely any oxygen or water.

The DOJ believes Piedra and the gang smuggled potentially “thousands” of illegal immigrants into the United States.

String of Arrests

Katie Garcia was picked up by police Tuesday in Laredo, Texas. A dozen illegal immigrants were found at her home, including several young kids.

The others arrested in the ring, in addition to Garcia and Piedra, were Lloyd Bexley, Pedro Abrigo, Oliveria Piedra-Campuzana, Jeremy Dickens, Laura Nuber, and Kevin Nuber.

If you or someone you know suspects somebody has been a victim of human trafficking or sex trafficking, call the toll-free national hotline at (888) 373-7888.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.