Experts Speak on Human Smuggling and its Implications

While there is shock and outrage over the death of ten migrants who were stuck in the back of a sweltering 18-wheeler that stopped in San Antonio, the scourge of human trafficking is something that federal agents have been watching rise for years.

"It’s called the diversification of criminal activities, and we've been hearing that from the FBI for the last 15 years," Sam Houston State Professor Nathan Jones tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

While human smuggling is nothing new, the rise of cartels has forced some major changes. 

 Jones calls it the 'capillary model'. 

 If you wanted to get smuggled, it was mom and pop operations that would get you across the border.

He says, as border security increase, it required more capital investment to get someone into Texas, so more and more, smuggling fell into the hands of the cartels, which had the resources.

"And that's when you see these situations of people trapped in a house or people in the back of a truck, dying in the back of a truck," he explains.

According to the criminal complaint, the migrants who were trapped in the back of an 18-wheeler that was discovered at a southwest side Wal-Mart Sunday paid $5,500 to get to San Antonio. 

 "He was told by the smuggler that people linked to the Zetas would charge 11,000 Mexican Pesos for protection and 1,500 Mexican Pesos to cross by raft," the complaint reads.

Jones says, the more border security the U.S. does, it increases the cartel's risk. That means it increases the price the migrants pay. 

In the end it creates more profit for organized crime, who is investing in tunnels and boats.

"They're just predatory extortionists of the local population.  This is the long term implication of the kingpin strategy in Mexico."


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