Feds: immigrant smuggling ring linked to Zetas

by

comment
Federal agents on Tuesday arrested 28 alleged members of an immigrant smuggling ring with ties to violent Zetas drug cartel.

icejpg

On Tuesday San Antonio's federal district court unsealed a nine-count indictment outlining charges that include conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented immigrants, transporting immigrants for money and placing them in jeopardy.

The results today will have an impact on an organization that has endangered its human cargo and has shown very little restraint as to what extremes they will go to make a profit,” said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, in a prepared statement.

The indictment names 40-year-old mid-level Zeta member Fernando Martinez-Magana as leader of the smuggling ring. Also known as “Zeta 16,” “Dieciséis,” and “Don Fernando,” he and seven other defendents remain fugitives, federal officials said Tuesday.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday claims the group had been smuggling immigrants through Laredo from about November 2011 through August of this year. The group operated stash houses throughout South Texas, including in San Antonio and Austin, the indictment states.

 

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.