New Jersey-Based Migrant Gang: Smuggling Operation Charges $6,000 Per Person for Illegal Crossings from Canada

With the escalating migrant crisis, an underground people-smuggling ring, led by undocumented migrants, has been uncovered, exposing a lucrative operation that sneaks individuals from Canada into the U.S. for a hefty fee of $6,000 per head, According to DailyMail. The gang, operational since 2019, is masterminded by migrants who settled in New Jersey after being released by ICE. Despite being caught multiple times, the gang continued its activities, moving dozens, if not hundreds, of migrants into the U.S. through the lightly guarded border between Quebec and Vermont.

The method of operation involves guiding migrants from Canada through less guarded crossing points into the U.S. These individuals are then collected on the U.S. side by drivers, also undocumented migrants, who are paid approximately $2,000 per trip. This surge in illegal crossings is amounting to a 500% increase, has prompted increased patrols and sparked discussions across law enforcement and border control agencies.

The gang’s sophisticated operation, combined with the release of smugglers even after being caught, has come to light amid a significant increase in illegal crossings at the Canadian border. Notably, in 2023, there were 10,021 arrests for illegal crossings, showing a five times increase from the previous year, with the majority occurring around the Vermont area where the gang operated.

Border Patrol agents captured several illegal immigrants in January that crossed the Niagara River from Canada

Two accused ringleaders, Jhon Reina-Perez and Victor Lopez-Padilla, both undocumented migrants, are now in custody, facing charges related to human smuggling offenses. Meanwhile, the third alleged leader, Simon Jacinto-Ramos, remains at large in Canada. The gang’s leaders, Reina-Perez and Lopez-Padilla, entered the U.S. illegally through the southern border and were permitted to stay in the country pending immigration proceedings.

Victor Lopez-Padilla, From Guatemala