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Government Agency News ICE breaking news

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents worked with the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) VICE Unit to rescue 69 people who were held against their will and arrested a man for human smuggling on Nov. 29. APD’s detectives and HSI special agents are members of the New Mexico Human Trafficking Task Force.

Rolando Joaquin-Miguel, 35, an undocumented noncitizen from Guatemala, is charged with human smuggling and hostage taking in the District of New Mexico. He is being held without bond pending judicial proceedings in federal court.

Several immigrants among the rescued victims, who were found crammed in a trailer home in Southeast Albuquerque, were offered and accepted victim services and support from a local nongovernmental organization. The group comprised 58 adults and five unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, including six females, as well as a man and woman from Mexico; two women from El Salvador; and two men — one from Ecuador and the other from Honduras. All the noncitizens ranged in age from 14 to 46 years old.

“Thanks to the outstanding work of HSI and our local partners, we were able to rescue these people who were being treated as merchandise and victimized for profit,” said Francisco B. Burrola, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso. “HSI will continue to work aggressively to combat these egregious crimes and go after the people and transnational criminal organizations involved.”

APD’s Central Narcotics Unit detectives and a proactive response team officer from APD’s Southeast Area Command worked with the VICE Unit to identify the trailer in the 9000 block of Zuni Road Southeast, where the group was being held. The detectives obtained warrants and conducted undercover surveillance.

Officers surveilling the stash house observed people delivering large amounts of takeout food. The undocumented non-citizens are believed to have been in a house between one and 30 days.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said, “Our detectives worked quickly to respond to this tip and they likely saved lives, making this operation a success. This is the second time our detectives have disrupted a large-scale human smuggling operation involving victims from Central America. I look forward to working with our federal partners to address this international criminal enterprise.”

Members of the public who have information about smuggling activity are urged to call 866-347-2423 or 001-1802-872-6199, or complete the online tip form. For additional information about HSI’s investigative efforts, follow @HSIElPaso.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

ICE breaking news HSI Albuquerque, APD rescue 69 undocumented noncitizens in stash house, arrest smuggler Government Agency News