Human trafficking, often charged as federal alien smuggling and harboring are very common crimes in Arizona, both for those helping arriving immigrants and specifically for local employers investigated for employing illegal and undocumented non-citizens. The United States Attorneys Office, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [the successor agency to INS] have been aggressive in prosecuting not only arriving and otherwise located undocumented aliens but those who aid, harbor, and employee them.
The Federal Government more often than not in alien smuggling and harboring cases suggests and receives indictments which include at least one conspiracy count 18 USC § 371, which requires only an agreement between two people to engage in criminal activity. And the federal government, importantly, tends to hold the illegal aliens as material witnesses against our clients to prove both the underlying offense and the conspiracy. Many times the material witnesses will be held for depositions and then deported early in the cases.
In the larger alien smuggling conspiracy matters, we have also seen money laundering charges 18 USC § 1957 as part of the indictment where funds have been sourced or traced.
Tucson Criminal Defense and White Collar Crime Attorney
Michael Harwin has been involved in some of the larger alien smuggling conspiracies indicted in Southern Arizona including ones involving Greyhound Bus Lines, Golden State Bus Lines (Bus Workers Smuggle Illegals, Cops Say), and 56 residents of the town of Bowie, Arizona. All made national news.
If you are an employer receiving inquiries from US DHS ICE concerning employee I-9 compliance we think it is important that you seek counsel early in the process