A human smuggler known as the ‘Boss Lady’ has pleaded guilty in a huge trafficking scheme

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that a Texas woman had pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges. She was involved in a human smuggling operation that brought hundreds of foreign nationals into the United States.

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Erminia Serrano Piedra, who is also known as Irma and referred to as “Boss Lady,” has been charged by the Justice Department for allegedly harboring and concealing migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia from U.S. authorities.

Migrants or their families usually provide a portion of the fee to smugglers, commonly referred to as “coyotes,” at the beginning of the journey. The remaining payment is made once they successfully cross the border into the United States.

According to Justice, the migrants or their families were required to pay approximately $8,000 in total to cross the border. Initially, they paid $3,000 to the smugglers upfront and the remaining amount was paid once they reached the American side of the border.

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According to a press release from the Justice Department, the organization’s leaders received payments through different accounts located all across the United States. The money from these accounts was subsequently transferred to the aforementioned individuals.

In her plea agreement, Piedra proudly declared that she had engaged in this activity “for a lifetime already.” She expressed satisfaction in the substantial profits she had made from human smuggling and showed no intention of retiring. Furthermore, she confidently stated her plans to continue generating significant income in the years ahead.

The organization relied on trucks to collect migrants at the United States-Mexico border and transport them to safe houses across the country. These safe houses provided shelter for the immigrants until they could pay the remaining smuggling fee and be released.

The migrants’ lives were frequently endangered due to the transportation methods and holding conditions they endured. They were often confined to cramped spaces with inadequate ventilation, leading to overheating. Additionally, they were frequently driven in overloaded vehicles at excessive speeds, often in an attempt to evade law enforcement and border patrol officials.

According to court documents, members of the smuggling organization often referred to the migrants as “boxes,” “packages,” or “pieces.”

According to the statement, Piedra admitted to conspiring to hide the illegal profits from human smuggling, including details about where the money came from and who owned and controlled it.

The organization’s leaders funneled money through different channels, often using construction companies, and masked it as payments for services in order to launder the money.

According to court documents, the defendants not only engaged in human smuggling but also established businesses and opened business accounts to handle the proceeds. They recruited individuals from the construction industry who would accept cash from human smuggling activities and exchange it for checks from their own business bank accounts.

According to the documents, Piedra has agreed to surrender two properties that were bought with the illegal profits from human smuggling. These properties are currently valued at approximately $2,275,000 and $515,000. In addition, Piedra will also pay a money judgment of $942,537.00.

The sentencing for Piedra has been set for April, and he could potentially face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

In court, ten additional defendants who had previously pleaded not guilty in the case have now changed their pleas and admitted guilt. Their sentencing is still pending.

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