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    Human Traffickers Using Ride-Share Drivers to Move Undocumented Migrants

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    There is no shortage of methods used by human traffickers to smuggle immigrants across the southern border of the United States. The latest involves Uber’s rideshare service.

    Earlier this month, five vehicles claiming to be associated with Uber were caught transporting 34 Central American migrants in Zacatecas and Coahuila. Four of these cars were confirmed to be in the company’s database.

    “All human smuggling in the region is controlled by various factions of transnational criminal groups (cartels). Though this area has historically been controlled by Los Zetas, other criminal groups have recently begun operating in the region,” Breitbart Texas reports.

    The drivers did not own the vehicles, but were renting them to work with the service. Only three were registered as current drivers, as one was let go from the company nine months ago for reasons unrelated to trafficking. Another two were fired after being flagged by the National Migration Institute.

    "First we saw them on trains, then on buses, then on trucks and today we see them in rented vehicles," Segismundo Doguin, a Coahuila state official at the National Migration Institute, told Reuters.

    A drone loaded with packages containing methamphetamine lies on the ground after it crashed into a supermarket parking lot in the city of Tijuana on Tuesday Jan. 20, 2015
    © AP Photo / Secretaria de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Tijuana

    The Uber caravan picked up the immigrants in Matehuala, with each rider paying 3,000 pesos ($162) to be driven 342 miles to Reynosa, along the Texas border.

    Uber has issued a statement denying any responsibility for the drivers.

    "The company does not own the cars registered on the platform, nor does it employ the drivers, who are independent contractors," Uber said.

    It appears to be a growing trend. Just months ago, another large caravan was caught doing the same thing.

    "About two months ago, seven other vehicles were detected in the area of San Luis Potosi state… and were also in the Uber system," Doguin said.

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    Tags:
    Human Trafficking, Cartels, Border Patrol, Uber, Mexico, Texas
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