A gang based in New Jersey is cashing in by smuggling migrants across the Canadian border into the United States, charging $6,000 for each person they sneak in, as reported by the Daily Mail. This operation has been linked to a significant increase in illegal crossings, with Border Patrol agents witnessing a 500% surge in activity along the poorly guarded border between Quebec and Vermont in 2023.
The gang’s leaders, who settled in New Jersey after being released by ICE, have successfully moved “dozens if not hundreds” of migrants into the U.S., exploiting the less monitored northern border. Despite repeated apprehensions, the gang has persistently operated, undeterred by the legal consequences.
Two of the accused masterminds behind this operation, Jhon Reina-Perez and Victor Lopez-Padilla, have been arrested and charged by U.S. authorities. A third leader is reportedly still at large in Canada, beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. This situation underscores the challenges posed by international smuggling networks and the limitations of current border security measures.
Reina-Perez and Lopez-Padilla’s smuggling endeavors have involved at least 25 migrants in incidents that Border Patrol managed to intercept. However, gang members have indicated that many more illegal crossings have likely gone unnoticed.
This smuggling route has become a preferred option for wealthier migrants seeking to enter the U.S. without the risks associated with the more heavily trafficked southern border. Notably, a higher percentage of individuals attempting to cross illegally from the north have been flagged on the U.S. terror watchlist, raising concerns about national security.
The situation at the northern border highlights the complex challenges facing U.S. immigration and border security efforts. Despite significant attention given to the southern border, the increase in illegal crossings from Canada underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to border security that addresses all potential entry points into the country.