modified dodge truck

Vehicles used by the alleged smugglers were elaborately modified to accommodate illegal immigrants.

*Here’s a totally different twist on smuggling illegal Mexicans in to the U.S.

Prosecutors say Maria Lopez-Diaz, a 60-year-old Compton, California woman, tried to cash in on racial profiling by operating a human smuggling ring that hired mostly African American drivers who didn’t speak a word of Spanish to ferry small groups of immigrants from Mexico to Los Angeles.

In the end, the alleged venture failed. Authorities announced charges Thursday against Lopez-Diaz and four others, including conspiracy and transporting and harboring illegal immigrants. Lopez-Diaz, two family members and a driver were arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol.

A second driver facing a conspiracy charge, 32-year-old Yvette “Hazel” Binford, remains at large.

Authorities said the group’s approach was the latest innovation they have seen in the evolving trade of sneaking illegal immigrants into the United States.

“It’s absolutely true that most of the people involved in transporting human smuggling networks are Hispanics, by virtue of the fact that most customers are Hispanics,” said ICE Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold. “This organization thought, ‘What if we recruited those who attract less attention from law enforcement?’ Obviously they were wrong.”

Read/learn more at LA Times.