A resident of Nogales, Arizona, pleaded guilty for his role in a human smuggling operation that has helped dozens of individuals cross the border illegally.
The individual, Benjamin Gallegos, admitted to charges of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens for profit and could face up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
“During a proceeding before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce G. Macdonald, Gallegos admitted that he conspired to transport and harbor illegal aliens for profit. Specifically, Gallegos managed, organized, and coordinated other co-conspirators to drive, provide guide services, and operate stash houses for undocumented persons seeking to be smuggled into the United States. Over the course of the conspiracy, Gallegos coordinated smuggling operations for well over 100 undocumented persons entering the country from Mexico,” the release detailed.
In 2021, law enforcement officials at the border arrested roughly 1.9 million people, a historic number in President Joe Biden’s first year. Furthermore, those numbers only reflect the number of individuals that border officials encountered and not illegal crossings that evaded law enforcement.
Previously, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who has remained critical of President Biden’s handling of the crisis, called on the federal government to assist in fighting the surge of illegal border crossings and drug trafficking operations.
During his annual State of the State address, Ducey specifically urged the state’s two Democratic senators to take action.
“I’m calling on our United States senators to join this fight to secure our border. No member of the Arizona congressional delegation that actually cares about the safety of our communities should vote YES on any legislation until the president agrees to language that does the following: secures our border with a wall — a physical barrier and virtual surveillance — increases resources to the local communities that have been devastated by these dangerous open border policies, and makes it clear that our border is NOT open to illegal immigration,” he said.
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