FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021
WASHINGTON – A Bangladeshi national formerly residing in Monterrey, Mexico, was sentenced to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a scheme to smuggle aliens from Mexico into the United States.
According to the plea agreement, Moktar Hossain admitted that from March 2017 to August 2018, he conspired to bring, and did bring, Bangladeshi nationals to the United States at the Texas border in exchange for payment. Hossain operated out of Monterrey, Mexico, where he maintained a hotel that housed aliens on their way to the United States. Hossain paid drivers to transport the aliens to the U.S. border, and gave the aliens instructions on how to cross the Rio Grande river.
“The defendant was a key player in an organized smuggling network that operated for profit and preyed on Bangladeshi nationals who wanted to enter the United States illegally,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This sentence serves as a clear deterrent to participants of such transnational criminal organizations who seek to undermine the security of our borders by illegally facilitating the travel of foreigners into the United States for a financial gain.”
“Border security and national security are one in the same,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas. “We must know who is coming into the country, and we cannot allow unfiltered access. My office continues to work with all our partners executing this mission.”
“The investigation, prosecution, and sentencing of Hossain is a result of HSI’s expertise in transnational investigations and unique ability to coordinate investigative efforts across international boundaries with foreign counterparts,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners both domestic and international to aggressively dismantle criminal travel networks that pose a threat to U.S. national security.”
This case was investigated by HSI Laredo, with assistance from the HSI Human Smuggling Unit, HSI Monterrey, HSI Houston, HSI Calexico, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Border Patrol, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The investigation was conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys James Hepburn and Erin Cox of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.