Skip to main content

Mexico captures suspected Chinese migrant smuggler

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Another suspect has also been arrested in New York
  • Police say the organization charged migrants $80,000 for passage to the U.S.
  • Authorities say the Chinese migrants stayed at hotels in Mexico City
RELATED TOPICS
  • Human Trafficking
  • China
  • Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- Authorities have apprehended the alleged leader of a global human trafficking ring that smuggled Chinese migrants to New York City through Mexico.

Mexican federal police arrested Huang Chen Yaowei, 31, and rescued eight undocumented Chinese migrants, Mexico's Secretary of Public Safety said in a statement Friday. U.S. immigration authorities arrested another suspect, Zhendi Li, in New York, the statement said.

Huang is the suspected leader of an international criminal organization that charged Chinese migrants $80,000 for passage to the United States through Mexico. He was allegedly involved in trafficking Chinese citizens since May 2004, Mexican authorities said.

The Chinese migrants were kept in hotels in Mexico City before crossing into the United States, authorities said. The smuggling organization allegedly used counterfeit passports and visas to make the migrants think that there stay in Mexico was legal.

According to the statement, Huang sent the migrants to Zhendi, "who allegedly was responsible for receiving them in New York, later providing them housing, moving them and charging the families of the undocumented large sums of money."

Mexican authorities said they worked with U.S. immigration officials to coordinate the investigation and the simultaneous capture of Zhendi.

During Huang's capture, Mexican federal police also confiscated an SUV, eight Chinese passports, four cell phones and more than $70,000 in Mexican pesos, U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, Hong Kong dollars and euros.

In January 2009, roughly 1 percent of approximately 10.8 million unauthorized migrants in the United States -- about 120,000 people -- were from China, according to the non-profit Migration Policy Institute.

Between 2005 and 2008, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more than 6,000 Chinese nationals, according to figures from the Department of Homeland Security.