The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) issued a statement in which it warns that US authorities have identified increased use of social media platforms such as Facebook, by criminal organizations to recruit and facilitate drug trafficking in the El Paso area.
Using the popular social network, criminal organizations advertise jobs requesting messengers for money exchange offices, and when interested parties respond to the advertisement, the “recruiter” sends them a direct message with more information about the job.
Some messages detected by special agents on Facebook say the following: “Our company is looking for people who can cross into El Paso. We work directly with the Exchange Houses and transport money from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez (Mexico)”.
The recruiter usually says that everything is legal and requests an interview with the applicant in Ciudad Juárez to offer more details about the job. This type of drug trafficking activity is called a “blind mule”, because the person involved will carry merchandise without their knowledge.
The truth is that the criminals will take the vehicle of the person concerned and hide the narcotics inside. Unknowingly unsuspecting people will pick up their vehicles and be directed to cross through one of the El Paso ports of entry. When they have crossed into the United States, they are instructed to call the recruiter to collect the vehicle.
The authorities’ recommendation for job applicants is that they investigate the name and address of the company that hires them and warns that legitimate companies do not conduct parking lot interviews or take custody of a potential employee’s vehicle.
The statement reminds the traveling public that when a driver shows up at a port of entry, he or she is responsible for all items in the vehicleTherefore, any offer to drive a vehicle on behalf of another should be greeted with suspicion.
“People caught with contraband in their vehicles attempting to enter the United States are at risk of arrest and conviction,” said Erik P. Breitzke, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, El Paso.
“We encourage the public to be aware of job postings on social media that seem too good to be true.”said the Director of Field Operations, Héctor Mancha.
For any incident, the authorities make available to the public the toll-free information line 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing their information form online. From outside the US and Canada, dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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