Houston, Texas - A Bangladeshi national residing in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested yesterday on arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to face a criminal indictment issued in the Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas for his role in a scheme to smuggle aliens from Mexico into the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio made the announcement.
The unsealed indictment alleges that from March 2017 to August 2018, Moktar Hossain, 30, conspired to bring and brought 14 Bangladeshi nationals to the United States at the Texas border in exchange for a fee. Hossain operated out of Monterrey, Mexico, where he maintained a hotel that housed aliens before they were transported to the U.S. border by drivers paid by Hossain.
Hossain was presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Hanovice Palermo in the Southern District of Texas for his initial appearance. At the hearing, Judge Palermo ordered that Hossain be held pending transfer to Laredo for further criminal proceedings.
“Protecting our country from illegal immigration and the national security threat it poses is a priority for the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The Criminal Division is dedicated to working with our law enforcement partners both here and abroad to disrupt the flow of illegal aliens into the United States, and bring those who facilitate their travel to justice.”
“Homeland Security Investigations remains steadfast in vigorously pursuing members of transnational criminal networks that exploit and endanger the people they smuggle into the United States,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Folden. “Smugglers are driven by simple greed with no thought for human compassion. HSI continues to work with our law enforcement partners to maintain the integrity of our border and the safety of our communities.”
This case is being investigated by HSI Laredo, with assistance from HSI Monterrey, HSI Houston, HSI Calexico, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service. The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys James Hepburn and Erin Cox of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.