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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

International Law Enforcement Cooperation Leads to Brazilian Takedown of Significant Human Smugglers

Earlier today, extensive coordination and cooperation efforts between United States and Brazilian law enforcement and prosecution authorities culminated in the Brazil Federal Police (DPF) conducting a significant enforcement operation to disrupt and dismantle a transnational criminal organization.  The human smuggling organization targeted is alleged to be responsible for the illicit smuggling of scores of individuals from East Africa and the Middle East, into Brazil, and ultimately to the United States.  The enforcement operation included the execution of multiple search warrants and the arrests of three prolific, Brazil-based human smugglers on Brazilian charges:  Abdifatah Hussein Ahmed (a Somalian national); Abdessalem Martani (an Algerian national); and Mohsen Khademi Manesh (an Iranian national).

“We commend today’s efforts by our Brazilian counterparts to take decisive action under their recently enacted human smuggling laws against criminal networks that threaten the national security of Brazil, the United States and other nations,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “Such collaborative efforts with our foreign law enforcement partners show our collective resolve to hold international human smugglers to account to the fullest extent of the law.” 

Assistance provided by U.S. authorities was coordinated under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department, Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (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.

HSI Boston led U.S. investigative support efforts, working in concert with HSI Brasilia, HSI San Diego, the HSI Human Smuggling Unit ECT program, Enforcement and Removal Operations, the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center, the HSI Liaison to the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Southern Command, Operation CITADEL, BITMAP, and the National Targeting Center – Investigations.  The Justice Department, both Criminal Division’s HRSP and the Office of International Affairs, provided significant legal and other assistance in this matter.

 

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
19-877
Updated August 20, 2019