Guatemala announced on Tuesday the capture for extradition purposes to USA of four alleged human traffickers, an unprecedented measure in a coordinated effort with Washington to combat the networks of “smugglers” that illegally transport migrants seeking to reach US soil.

The detainees were identified as the main leaders of a network of smugglers. All were apprehended in an extensive operation that covered five departments throughout Guatemala, some of them strong expellers of migrants, and in which another 15 people were detained.

“Today we can set a precedent for the extradition of human traffickers”The Guatemalan prosecutor against migrant smuggling, Stuardo Campo, said at a press conference, adding that the group is one of the “largest and most powerful” in the Central American nation.

The investigations that led to the capture, in a case identified as “AlfaSites” began in 2019. The extradition orders derive from the US investigations into the death of Marta Ana Raymundo Corio, a Guatemalan migrant who died in a warehouse in San Antonio, Texas.

The woman had been transferred to the United States by the network of traffickers of the detainees, said the prosecutor in the case. The network charged between 90,000 and 150,000 quetzals ($11,600 and $19,400) per migrant, according to Campo.

According to the United Nations, 728 migrants who crossed the border from Mexico into the United States died in 2021, the deadliest year since the agency began documenting such cases in 2014. Through the end of July, the UN counted 340 more deaths this year. , which is going at the same pace as last year’s record.

At the end of June, 53 migrants, most of them from Guatemala and Mexico, suffocated to death inside an abandoned trailer on a highway in San Antonio, Texas, United States, considered the deadliest incident of migrant deaths in the United States. However, thousands of migrants continue to try to reach the United States to escape poverty and lack of employment in their countries, avoiding the dangers they face along the way.

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