We've seen countless immigration raids in Houston over the years, but what many people saw Tuesday is being called "unprecedented." Federal agents are now releasing details about 'Operation Night Moves."
"These companies are the final link in the smuggling supply chain," said John Morton, Assistant Secretary for Immigration Customs Enforcement.
ICE agents said 22 people were arrested Tuesday at nine different transportation companies, mostly on the southeast side. According to ICE agents, the businesses advertised van trips to and from Mexico, but were paying commissions to smugglers so they could transport illegal immigrants all over the country.
Morton says a one way ticket from Houston was about $600.
81 illegal immigrants were found at places like People Express on Long Drive and Transportes Sarahi on Tuck Street. Morton said it's easy to see these are not legitimate transportation businesses. At People Express, the property is surrounded by security cameras and a barbed-wire fence. Pitbulls were taken during the raid.
This was a three month investigation that started to come together when ICE agents would stop van's in one part of the country and then another. Morton said the drivers started talking and the focus came back to Houston and the businesses where they worked.
All 22 people arrested are charged with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. They face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Operation "Night Moves"
Immigration Agents Give Details on "Unprecedented" Raid
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