“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Former Mexican Federal Police offer Erick Ojeda Mendiga (right) was sentenced alongside human smuggler Carlos Albertos Sandoval Vazquez (left).|
Former Mexican Federal Police officer Erick Ojeda Mendiga was sentenced to 9 years in prison yesterday for human smuggling. This information was confirmed by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) after their prosecution team was able to convince a federal judge to hand over a sentence. The ex-police officer was accused of smuggling 13 Salvadoran nationals, including six children, into Mexico. He was an active member of the police when he committed the crime.
Ojeda Mendiga worked alongside Carlos Albertos Sandoval Vázquez, who was also sentenced yesterday. Both men will have to pay a MXN$505,800 fine (approximately US$22,600) and will serve their sentence at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 9, a maximum-security prison in the state of Oaxaca.
Both men were arrested several years ago in the municipality of Santa Maria Tecomavaca, Oaxaca. Oaxaca is an important human smuggling corridor for numerous Central American migrants heading to the U.S. They often enter Mexico through the neighboring state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala.
According to calculations by the Migration Policy Unit (Spanish: Unidad de Política Migratoria) of the Ministry of Interior, human smugglers charge up to US$5,600 for Central Americans heading to the U.S. Migrants are often victims of abuse, extortion, kidnapping, rape and multiple other forms of violence from both organized crime groups and corrupt officials throughout their journey.