HomeNewsBriefUS-Canada Border Arrest Shows Varied Human Smuggling Routes
BRIEF

US-Canada Border Arrest Shows Varied Human Smuggling Routes

CANADA / 16 OCT 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

US authorities have arrested a Honduran national for allegedly smuggling several migrants from Central America and Mexico into the United States from Canada, highlighting a rarely seen variation in human smuggling routes amid increased enforcement along the US-Mexico border.

On October 11, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents announced the arrest of 25-year-old Honduran national Héctor Ramón Pérez-Alvarado for allegedly smuggling 15 migrants -- 11 Guatemalans and four Mexicans -- from Canada into the United States through Derby, Vermont along the northeast US-Canada border, according to an agency press release.

According to an affidavit from US Border Patrol Agent Matthew Palma, on October 7, authorities identified a van making multiple trips to a motel in Derby from the border crossing located on the northeast US-Canada border between the town of Beebe Plain, Québec, Canada and Beebe Plain, Vermont.

While conducting surveillance on the vehicle on October 8, US Border Patrol agents observed five individuals running south from the Canadian side of the border before presumably entering Pérez-Alvarado's vehicle on the US side, according to the affidavit.

After following the vehicle back to the motel, agents stopped the van, which was driven by Pérez-Alvarado. They discovered six other passengers inside, all of whom did not have legal status in the United States, according to the affidavit.

The individuals in the car admitted that they had just illegally crossed the border from Canada into the United States, according to the affidavit. After believing that there might be additional individuals located in the motel room, Pérez-Alvarado provided the agents with his motel room key, where they subsequently found nine more people.

Pérez-Alvarado was charged with human smuggling, according to the criminal complaint. Two other individuals were charged with re-entering the United States after having previously been removed, according to the press release.

InSight Crime Analysis

For human smugglers and those they smuggle, illegally entering the United States from Mexico is tougher than ever before, and Border Patrol agents are allegedly capturing or preventing the vast majority of those trying to do so, according to a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report.

Indeed, the report found that 55 to 85 percent of those trying to cross the US-Mexico border are apprehended or interdicted, up from just 35 to 70 percent a decade ago. These increased efforts, and their reported success, may in part be contributing to a variation in the routes being utilized by smugglers.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Smuggling

However, it is unclear how the migrants entered Canada in the first place before connecting with the smuggler who helped them cross into the United States. Only two of the migrants had entered the United States before, which suggests that the remaining migrants would have needed to purchase false documents and a plane ticket to enter Canada.

The most recent case observed along the US-Canada border suggests that smugglers may be shifting away from traditional smuggling routes along the US-Mexico border to routes along the US-Canada border. However, experts say that the Canadian border is a source of far less concern for US authorities than the border with Mexico.

White House chief of staff John Kelly told reporters last week, "[We] don’t have nearly the issues on the northern border with Canada. Great partnerships there."

And Randy Capps, director of research for US Programs at the Migration Policy Institute, said that the recent case in Vermont is not likely to portend a major shift in migration dynamics.

"From what we do know, it seems highly unlikely that this will be a new trend given the economic and logistical obstacles," Capps told InSight Crime.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 5 AUG 2021

In two separate cases in El Salvador, mayors are accused of heading migrant smuggling rings, a crime that,…

COLOMBIA / 19 NOV 2021

A surge in US-bound migrants has been a boon to human smuggling rings in Ecuador – in a pattern that…

CARIBBEAN / 4 JUL 2022

On June 28, the Cuban Interior Ministry announced that at least two clashes between speedboat crews coming from the United…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…