Cartel Money Man: “We Control All the Territory” Used to Smuggle Migrants

The New American
by Luis Miguel



The fight to protect the border, part of the greater war to preserve America’s national sovereignty, has a multi-faceted and ever-changing landscape. Criminal cartels and human smugglers have adapted to the Trump administration’s efforts to thwart illegal migration.

As part of a recent report, the Associated Press spoke with a human smuggling “money man” identified only as Manuel.

“We control all the territory” along the Arizona border he told AP, which wrote that Manuel works for the Sinaloa cartel. He claimed to handle the income from smuggling migrants along a 375-mile territory along the U.S.-Mexico border — a jurisdiction that brings in an average or $1 million a month in illegal money.

The Mexican government has calculated that the total annual income of the migrant smuggling business on the southern border is as high as $6 billion a year.

“It’s a business that you’re not going to stop,” said Manuel, who said the cartels work in league with local and federal authorities in places like Nogales, Sonora, which borders with Nogales, Arizona.

According to Manuel, the cartel pays $25,000 a month each to Mexico’s local, state, and federal police and to the National Guard. While the Mexican army does not accept the bribe, they allegedly turn a blind eye in exchange for favors.

Manuel explained that the cartel rents its territory to local criminal organizations. Smugglers offer a variety of border-crossing options to migrants depending on how much they’re willing to pay.

A migrant may choose, for instance, to walk two hours, three days, or seven days through the Arizona desert. The most expensive option is walking right through an official U.S. border crossing with a “renter visa.”

These are legitimate U.S.-issued visas that are rented to illegal aliens for a fee. The key, Manuel said, is to “find someone who looks similar” to the migrant and the hope the border official is either fooled or willing to accept a bribe.

Along the Texas border, meanwhile, Mexican towns have come to depend heavily on illegal border traffic. In Miguel Aleman, which borders with Roma, Texas, so-called “stash houses” that lodge migrants have proliferated because “a lot of people don’t have work and so they’ve rented their houses,” as one resident put it.

“Everyone has gotten in on the business and it’s generating a lot of money,” the unnamed resident added.

Stash houses also exist on the American side of the border, and migrants typically stay there until their trips deeper into the country can be organized. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Brian Hastings stated that during the last fiscal year alone, nearly 3,000 migrants were found in stash houses in American territory.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures from November showed that detentions at the border were down almost 5 percent from the previous month and nearly 70 percent from the high in May.

Despite those gains, Manuel said “there’s nothing you can’t resolve,” with money and that smugglers have managed to keep their illicit activities flowing by simply raising prices.

“You’re going to have more expenses, but nothing changes,” he told AP. “The border is a business for everybody.”

When migrants find themselves unable to pay all the money they owe, they are given the alternative of engaging in the “other business” — smuggling drugs.

“If they don’t have money, you tell them, ‘This counts for this much,’ and they have to work,” Manuel said.

A migrant identified only as Jesús further described corruption among Mexican authorities as he unsuccessfully attempted to gain illegal entry to the U.S. with his wife and four-year-old daughter:

When Jesus got to Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, a bottleneck in southern Mexico where authorities have focused enforcement efforts, five agents from the Attorney General’s Office stopped the truck. The migrants paid about $35 per person to be allowed to continue. In a matter of minutes, the agents made more than $5,000.

Jesús reportedly paid $7,000 for his trip, which didn’t include fees. Other migrants were charged upwards of $9,000.

As the Trump administration battles the adaptive cartels in Mexico, it also faces opposition from the migrant lobby here in America.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of New York denied a request by the federal government to toss out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of arrests made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New York courthouses.

Last month, a federal judge blocked a Trump rule requiring immigrants to demonstrate proof of health insurance to receive a visa, while another federal judge ruled that a family of illegal Guatemalan migrants must have access to an attorney before being sent to Mexico as part of President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy.

Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at


The New American