POST TIME: 3 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 November, 2019 02:06:24 AM
Bangladesh-born human trafficker arrested in Brazil
He allegedly smuggled large number of people into USA

human trafficker
arrested in Brazil

A Bangladesh-born man accused of being one of the most prolific human smugglers in the world has been arrested in Brazil, as part of a joint effort between the Brazilian Federal Police and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Arrested on Thursday, Saifullah Al-Mamun, 32, was also indicted in the United States, where he is charged with eight counts of conspiracy and alien smuggling, according to a news release by the US Department of Justice on Thursday.

The release said several arrests were made in Sao Paulo of Brazil, where Saifullah was living, and in three other Brazilian cities. The police also froze 42 bank accounts it says were used by the group to finance their activities.

The operation disrupted and dismantled a major transnational alien smuggling organization, following which Saifullah was also indicted in the United States.  

According to a US Department of Justice press release, the "alien smugglers targeted in this operation are alleged to be responsible for the illicit smuggling of scores of individuals from South Asia and elsewhere, into Brazil, and ultimately to the United States."

Saifullah, 32, was charged in a superseding indictment unsealed on Saturday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division.

The Bangladeshi has been charged with eight counts of conspiracy and alien smuggling. Officials claim that Saifullah participated in a scheme intended to illegally bring migrants to the U.S. via a network of smugglers located in Brazil and a number of countries in Latin America, reports newsweek.com.

Brazilian police executed multiple search warrants in the operation, which also resulted in the capture of an additional seven alleged human traffickers based in Brazil.

Authorities say Al-Mamun, who was born in Bangladesh, accepted payment from hopeful migrants who he housed in Sao Paulo before moving them to northern Brazil, where they would begin a long journey that ended in an attempt to cross the U.S. border, according to a report published by Newsweek on Friday.

In addition to Brazil, the network of smugglers was said to be based in countries including Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

Uruguay-based www.en.mercopress.com quoted the US Department of Justice as saying, Al-Mamun is alleged to have housed people coming from Southeast Asia in São Paulo and arranged for their travel through a network of smugglers operating in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

"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," said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski in a press release.

"We will continue to collaborate with our foreign law enforcement partners to hold international human smugglers accountable for the threat they pose to the national security of Brazil, the United States, and other nations."

Reuters reports that Brazilian police claim individuals from Asia were paying around 50,000 Brazilian Reals ($12,530) for the opportunity to eventually make the U.S. border crossing attempt.

Two of Al-Mamun's alleged co-conspirators were named in the recently unsealed indictment and arrested earlier. On August 27, Moktar Hossain, a Bangladeshi national who had been living in Monterey, Mexico, pleaded guilty to charges related to smuggling aliens for personal financial gain. Milon Miah, another Bangladeshi man living in Mexico, was arrested on similar charges August 31 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.

"Transnational human smuggling organisations threaten the security of the United States," said Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations Phoenix. "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."

Authorities also reportedly froze 42 bank accounts associated with the alleged conspiracy. Saifullah entered Brazil six years ago as a refugee, and was living in Bras, a diverse neighbourhood in Sao Paulo – home to immigrants from around the world.

Bangladesh’s law enforcers, however, said to have not heard about Saifullah before the media reports got published yesterday.