Dominican cops arrest smugglers tied to deaths of migrants in Mexico

Five members of human smuggling network that charged £20,000 per person are arrested in the Dominican Republic after being linked to deaths of three of the 56 migrants killed in Mexico truck crash

  • Authorities in the Dominican Republic arrested five men tied to a smuggling ring
  • The arrests took place Tuesday in the cities of Bani and Santo Domingo
  • The network reportedly helped smuggled three of the 56 Central American and Dominican migrants who were killed in a crash in Mexico on December 9 
  • The group charged migrants up to £22,000 to smuggle them from the Dominican Republic to the United States
  • A total of six Dominican nationals have been confirmed dead by Mexican and Dominican authorities
  • At least three were injured, but 11 who were in the tractor trailer at the time of the accident have been reported missing 
  • The truck was hauling over 160 migrants when it crashed into the side of a pedestrian bridge in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas 
  • At least 107 people were also injured in the accident 

By Adry Torres For Dailymail.com

Published: 20:36, 22 December 2021 | Updated: 20:36, 22 December 2021

Dominican Republic authorities have dismantled a criminal network that tried to smuggle three Dominican nationals who were among the 56 migrants killed in a US-bound truck when it crashed in Mexico, officials said.

Security forces launched simultaneous raids across the cities of Bani and Santo Domingo, the capital, on Tuesday, and arrested Guillermo Guzman Marcano; Leonel Antonio Mendez Arias; Roman Alberto Casalinovo Trinidad; Santo Francisco Vizcaino Guerrero; and Jesus Antonio Martinez Diaz.

The network charged at least £20,000 per person and used the profits to splurge on real estate and luxury vehicles. 

Each of the individuals was charged with ‘promoting, inducing and financing the illicit trafficking of persons,’ the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Prosecutors have requested 18 months of pretrial detention for each of the five defendants. They are expected to make their first court appearance before a judge Wednesday or Thursday.

Scene of the December 9 tractor trailer accident in Chiapas, Mexico, that claimed the lives of 56 migrants and injured 107 from Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. On Tuesday, authorities in the Dominican Republic apprehended five members of a criminal group who reportedly arranged the smuggling of three Dominican nationals who died in the accident

Dominican cops arrest smugglers tied to deaths of migrants in Mexico

Bodies in bodybags are placed on the side of the road after an accident outside the Chiapas City of Tuxtla Gutierrez left 56 migrants dead on December 9

Dominican cops arrest smugglers tied to deaths of migrants in Mexico

A Red Cross paramedic tends to a migrant who was injured in the truck accident that left 56 people dead and 107 injured in Mexico on December 9

The smuggling ring, investigators found, trafficked Dominican residents from Santo Domingo to the United States.

The group set up migrants on flights from Santo Domingo to Guatemala, Panama and Mexico, among other countries, and then crammed them inside freight containers that were hauled across the Mexico-United States border. 

A spokeswoman with the Ministry of the Interior confirmed to DailyMail.com that Mexican authorities have so far identified only six Dominican nationals who were killed.

Dominican cops arrest smugglers tied to deaths of migrants in Mexico

 A Red Cross paramedic tends to a migrant who was injured in the truck accident that left 56 people dead and 107 injured in Chiapas, Mexico, on December 9. All of the victims were migrants who had paid to be smuggled to the United States

However, media outlets have reported that as many as seven Dominicans died in the December 9 crash. 

At least three were injured and seven others who were traveling in the cargo box have been reported missing. 

The speeding tractor trailer crashed into the side of a pedestrian bridge on a highway in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and overturned, ejecting many of the migrants across the pavement while trapping others inside. 

The tragic wreck left a total of 107 migrants with injuries.

The National Institute of Migration since October has offered migrants humanitarian visas in order to stop them from exposing themselves to the dangers of traveling in caravans.

It awarded 17 visas last Tuesday.

A total of 15 Guatemalans, including three unaccompanied minors, one Colombian and one Dominican, were granted permanent resident cards to remain in Mexico instead of returning to their home countries.

A spokesperson with the National Institute of Migration told DailyMail.com that the three children are currently in custody of the National System for Integral Family Development.




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