REPORT: Feds expose network that smuggled illegal immigrants from Syria to U.S.

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service on the internet, DML News offers the following information published by WASHINGTONTIMES.COM:

The Treasury Department slapped sanctions Wednesday on a Syrian man and his criminal syndicate, blaming them for smuggling “hundreds” of illegal immigrants from Syria and Lebanon into Mexico and then helping them to jump the border into the U.S.

Nasif Barakat and his syndicate, which authorities labeled the Barakat Transnational Criminal Organization, charged about $20,000 to complete the smuggling. The money paid for bribes and for fake documents, including false European passports, to help illegal immigrants hide their identities. The fees also covered transportation from Syria through other Middle Eastern countries to South and Central America, the journey north through Mexico, and final help sneaking into the U.S.

The article goes on to state the following:

Authorities said the sanctions will freeze the syndicate’s assets, which should undermine the smuggling operation.

The case has been pursued by the Treasury Department, Homeland Security and the Justice Department.

Additional details were included in a press release by the Treasury Department:

Syrian national Nasif Barakat, the leader of the Barakat TCO, resides in Syria.  Barakat and members of his TCO operate a global network of human smugglers that coordinate the smuggling of foreign nationals to the United States for an average cost of approximately $20,000; this sum includes fees to obtain fraudulent and/or counterfeit documents.  Nasif Barakat often provides travelers with fraudulently obtained passports from many different countries, including European Union countries, to facilitate his clients’ global movement and smuggling to the United States.  Barakat engages in bribery to facilitate human smuggling.  The Barakat TCO often utilizes a common route of travel which begins in Syria and transits Lebanon, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, subsequently arriving in and transiting certain South and Central American countries before arrival at the Southwest border of the United States.  The Barakat TCO’s smuggling activities are linked to other crimes including document fraud, which can significantly impair appropriate vetting processes. 

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