Operation Coyote

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Operation Coyote
Part of Human trafficking in the United States
DateJune–September, 2014
Homeland Security Coyote smugglers
Casualties and losses
540 arrested
$950K seized
56 vehicles seized[1]

Operation Coyote[2] 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.


Operation Coyote followed the May 2014 Operation Southern Crossing that led to the arrest of 163 smugglers in a single month.[3] Operation Coyote launched on June 2014.

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[4][3]

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.[2][5] 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.[6]

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.[1] The operation was criticized for not taking into account the crisis of child migrants crossing the border.[7]

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».[8] 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.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Damien Cave, Frances Robles, A Smuggled Girl’s Odyssey of False Promises and Fear, Nytimes.com, 5 October 2014
  2. ^ a b Alfredo Corchado (2014-08-29). "For some cartels, human smuggling has taken priority over drugs". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  3. ^ a b ‘Operation Coyote’ targets human smuggling networks, Cbs19.tv, 22 july 2014
  4. ^ Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro, Feds: Nearly 200 smugglers arrested in Operation Coyote, Valleymorningstar.com, 24 July 2014
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Homeland Security raids 6 homes in Nacogdoches Co. in connection to human smuggling, Insightcrime.org, 9 September 2014
  7. ^ Kyra Gurney, US ‘Operation Coyote’ Fails to Address Child Migrant Crisis, Insightcrime.org, 23 July 2014
  8. ^ Mexican cartels ramp up human smuggling business, Apnews.com, 30 August 2014
  9. ^ Soni Sangha, Following money, Feds try to round up networks of immigrant smugglers on border, Foxnews.com, 7 March 2016