US announces sanctions on Mexican migrant-trafficking gang – Jamaica Gleaner

MEXICO CITY (AP):
The United States Treasury on Friday announced sanctions on a Mexico-based migrant-trafficking gang that supplied asylum-seekers with false papers to game the process.
Known as the Hernandez Salas organization, the gang is based in the border city of Mexicali, across the border from Calexico, California.
Since at least 2018, the gang organised travel by migrants from “countries posing national security concerns”, according to the Treasury Department, though it did not specify what countries those were.
The gang then smuggled the migrants into the United States.
The Treasury said in a statement that the criminal scheme hurts those who really need asylum protection.
“The practice of human smuggling and the facilitation of fraudulent documentation undermines the US asylum system,” the statement said, “damaging public confidence in the vetting process and jeopardising access to protection for vulnerable persons fleeing conflict, famine, and persecution.”
The gang is allegedly run by a woman, Ofelia Hernández Salas, with links to the Sinaloa drug cartel. The sanctions also applied to four associates and two hotels used to house migrants. Hernández Salas is under arrest in Mexico and is awaiting extradition to face US charges.
The department said the gang charged migrants between $10,000 and $70,000 for package deals of travel to Mexico, fake documents and smuggling fees to enter the United States.
The sanctions imposed by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) freeze assets of the companies and people in the United States. They also prohibit US citizens and businesses from any transactions with the targetted entities.
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