Two Mexican nationals, living in Connecticut, are accused of operating a labor trafficking scheme that brought illegal aliens to the Northeastern United States and forced them to pay sky-high smuggling fees in exchange for fake green cards and Social Security Numbers.
Mexican nationals Maria Del Carmen Sanchez Potrero, 69, and Apolinar Francisco Paredes Espinoza, 56, were arrested and charged this week for allegedly running a labor trafficking scheme for illegal aliens that ensured they would be smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border and transported to Hartford, Connecticut.
According to court records, Potrero and Espinoza allegedly would arrange for mostly Mexican illegal aliens to cross the southern border at a fee ranging from $15,000 to $20,000. The fee, 10 victims told federal investigators, would be paid after they arrived in Hartford.
In a number of instances, victims said they were asked by Potrero and Espinoza to turn over a property deed to them as collateral before departing Mexico for the southern border. After arriving in Hartford, though, Potrero and Espinoza would allegedly require the illegal aliens to pay $30,000 in fees with interest and force them to pay for rent, food, and utility costs while living at the pair’s residence.
In exchange, Potrero and Espinoza allegedly provided the illegal aliens with fake green cards and Social Security Numbers so they could work illegally in the U.S. Some of the illegal aliens allege they were required to perform house duties at the residence, without pay, in addition to holding their illegal jobs.
Prosecutors allege that Potrero and Espinoza would threaten illegal aliens they had helped traffick to Hartford if they missed deadlines for fee payments.
In some instances, Potrero and Espinoza allegedly would threaten to hurt the illegal aliens’ family members back in Mexico or turn them over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for deportation.
Potrero, according to prosecutors, even threatened one male illegal alien that she would call local police and claim that he had raped her.
Potrero and Espinoza are each facing 50 years in prison for human smuggling, labor trafficking, and extortion. Both are being held in federal custody.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.