A Turkish branch of an international criminal gang smuggling migrants to the United States through Mexico is being investigated by Ankara police. A report by the Sabah newspaper said seven gang members had been detained. The suspects were under police surveillance for months before the arrest operations began.
The investigation revealed that some members of the gang operated from the city of Agra, an eastern Turkish province on the border with Iran, from where illegal migrants from various predominantly Asian countries are trying to sneak into Turkey.
Two other members of the Ankara-based gang are accused of running a scheme to obtain tourist visas for migrants from Mexico. The gang demanded up to $ 15,000 from the migrants.
Another gang member was tasked with arranging migrants’ contacts with the Mexican branch of the international network.
The investigation found that after illegal migrants arrived in Mexico, they were sent to Ciudad Juarez, south of the Texas border, and then helped cross the border. Subsequently, U.S. lawyers with whom the gang had contacts helped release migrants from asylum centers in the United States, and some migrants were helped to reach Canada while others remained in the United States.
More migrants are now seeking access to the United States through Mexico as President Joe Biden promised a fairer treatment of migrants in a bid to reverse his predecessor Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.