19:58 GMT24 June 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US enforcement agencies have joined their peers in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to launch a Central America-wide crackdown against human smuggling and trafficking and corruption, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday.

    “The joint efforts we are announcing today will combine investigative, prosecutorial, and capacity-building efforts of both the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security,” Garland said in a statement announcing the Joint Task Force Alpha representing the five countries. “Our focus will remain on disrupting and dismantling smuggling and trafficking networks that abuse, exploit, or endanger migrants, pose national security threats, and are involved in organized crime. Together, we will combat these threats where they originate and operate.”

    The joint task force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, will focus on the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, Garland said.

    The multi-agency panel will also heighten focus on investigations, prosecutions and asset recoveries relating to corruption in Northern Triangle countries through its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement program, counternarcotics prosecutions and Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

    In addition to these, the Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, in coordination with the State Department, will assist their counterparts in the Northern Triangle countries and Mexico to support their efforts to prosecute smuggling and trafficking networks in their own courts.
    Merrick Garland, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, US, crimes
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