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Guatemala busts alleged $10 million people-smuggling ring

May 29, 2019
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Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan gives a press conference before a security-related meeting with government representatives from countries in Central America's Northern Triangle in Guatemala City, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. In December the U.S. made an aid announcement aimed at providing better security and economic conditions in Central America to allow residents to stay instead of migrating north. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)
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Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan gives a press conference before a security-related meeting with government representatives from countries in Central America's Northern Triangle in Guatemala City, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. In December the U.S. made an aid announcement aimed at providing better security and economic conditions in Central America to allow residents to stay instead of migrating north. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemalan authorities said Wednesday they have broken up a people-smuggling ring that purportedly moved 800 migrants a year through the country and took in some $10 million doing so.

The announcement came amid a visit by the acting U.S. Homeland Security secretary, Kevin McAleenan, during which the two countries signed an agreement on jointly addressing migration and people-trafficking.

Guatemalan prosecutors and National Civil Police arrested nine people in the case, including the alleged ringleader. The suspects were said to have housed migrants from Central and South America in Guatemala and moved them across the border from the town of Gracias a Dios, Huehuetenango department, into Mexico, bound for the United States.

The smugglers allegedly charged $11,000 to $12,000 per adult and $3,500 for minors.

Officials said the operation was carried out with support from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

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