Last year, I wrote this story about a human smuggling ring that was operating a safe house in Escondido where illegal immigrants were being held hostage.

Well, the North County Times just published this piece that looks a bit more broadly at the issue of human smuggling. The story starts off with the same story I wrote about, but spreads out into a more comprehensive look at the human smuggling problem in the region.

There’s some compelling information, here’s a snippet:

In Arizona, drop houses have become the setting for the worst abuses in immigrant smuggling, such as assaults, rapes and hostage-takings in which customers are the victims.

Gangs have also forced their way into drop houses to kidnap rival traffickers for big ransoms.

San Diego County has largely escaped the worst of the violence, immigration officials said. That may be because San Diego is mainly a brief stop in the smuggling corridor leading to Los Angeles and other larger cities.

Other officials point to the multilayer, 14-mile fence built along the border between San Diego County and Tijuana. The fence and others along California’s border with Mexico are credited with pushing human smuggling east to Arizona.

On the same topic, I wrote a recent story looking at another trend in human smuggling: Smuggling people by boat from the coast of Baja. Check it out here.


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