Colombian immigration authorities have captured 13 people suspected to be part of a network that traffics immigrants throughout Colombia, newspaper El Espectador reported Thursday.
Director of DAS Felipe Muñoz said that the organization took at least 150 migrants from Nepal, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia and India across the border with Ecuador using motorcycles and public vehicles, taking people one by one in order not to arouse suspicion.
According to Muñoz, the immigrants were carried from the border to the Colombian metropolises of Medellin, Cali and Bogota in small buses, and “often the foreigners had to travel in the cargo holds of the vehicles in order to pass unseen by the rest of the passengers.” Muñoz added that the organization created false migration documents in order to make it appear as though the immigrants had crossed the border legally.
Authorities established that the immigrants ended up living in hotels and houses in Medellin, from where they were flown to San Andres, a Colombian island off the Nicaraguan coast, and then transported on to Central America, with the United States as a final destination.
For this journey, the network allegedly charged the immigrants between $4,000-$5,000, according to authorities.
Among those arrested during operation “Travesia Africana,” was a former DAS employee who became a member of the trafficking organization.