|Part of Human trafficking in the United States|
|Homeland Security||Coyote smugglers|
|Casualties and losses|
56 vehicles seized
Operation Coyote was a United States Department of Homeland Security 90-day effort to track and seize revenue generated by Mexican cartels in the human smuggling industry along the United States-Mexico border.
By July, 191 smugglers and 450 undocumented aliens were arrested (or 192 smugglers and 501 undocumented aliens), and $600K (or more than $625K) were seized from US banks. 60 special agents were assigned to the case
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, commented on the operation in August 2014, announcing that 363 smugglers and their associates had been arrested and more than $800,000 in illicit payments seized. In September 2014, the authorities raided 6 homes in Nacogdoches where 4 persons were arrested, and guns were found along thousands of dollars in cash.
From June to September 2014, U.S. agents seized $950,000 in 504 accounts at undisclosed banks in Arizona, Texas and Maryland. Homeland Security also reported that in this time period, human smuggling generated $50 million, mainly in the Reynosa area of Tamaulipas. Its impact was also considered minor compared to the actual size of the human trafficking industry between Latin America and the USA. The operation was criticized for not taking into account the crisis of child migrants crossing the border.
When starting the operations, Homeland Security assumed that Mexican cartels were the main actors of the cross-border human smuggling, with special agent Oscar Hagelsieb stating to the press «We've been able to trace millions of dollars going into the Reynosa area. You cannot operate a criminal venture of that magnitude without the cartels having a major role in it». No further links to the cartels were uncovered by the US feds.
A 2016 Fox News article implied that Operation Coyote was still ongoing, totalling $2 million seized and 1,100 arrests.
- Damien Cave, Frances Robles, A Smuggled Girl’s Odyssey of False Promises and Fear, Nytimes.com, 5 October 2014
- Alfredo Corchado (2014-08-29). "For some cartels, human smuggling has taken priority over drugs". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- ‘Operation Coyote’ targets human smuggling networks, Cbs19.tv, 22 july 2014
- Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro, Feds: Nearly 200 smugglers arrested in Operation Coyote, Valleymorningstar.com, 24 July 2014
- Michael Smith & Esme E. Deprez (2015-01-15). "One Thing Gangs Smuggling Latin Migrants Over the Border Can't Do Without: Big U.S. Banks". Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- Homeland Security raids 6 homes in Nacogdoches Co. in connection to human smuggling, Insightcrime.org, 9 September 2014
- Kyra Gurney, US ‘Operation Coyote’ Fails to Address Child Migrant Crisis, Insightcrime.org, 23 July 2014
- Mexican cartels ramp up human smuggling business, Apnews.com, 30 August 2014
- Soni Sangha, Following money, Feds try to round up networks of immigrant smugglers on border, Foxnews.com, 7 March 2016