Ohio Connection to Human smuggler's arrest in Arizona

How big is the Mexico to Ohio Human Trafficking Pipeline?

5-6-06 By Steve Salvi

A human smuggler, also known as a coyote, was arrested this week in Arizona after an Gila County, Arizona, sheriff's deputy stopped an Ohio-plated van during a traffic stop for minor traffic violations. The deputy allegedly found fifteen Mexican nationals crammed inside the vehicle.  The alleged illegal migrants reportedly paid the smuggler to take them to Ohio.

Arrested was Saul Mejia, 27, of Mexico.  Mejia and another occupant of the van attempted to escape but were caught by law enforcement.  The 15 Mexican migrant passengers were turned over to the Border Patrol.

The sheriff's department said the van was purchased last February in Ohio and already had been driven nearly 40,000 miles.  [This may indicate the van may have been used to smuggle people or other contraband around the country before.]

The Gila County Attorney's Office will now decide if Mejia will be charged with human smuggling, a felony, as well as other crimes. Note: OJJPAC doesn't know if the Border Patrol returned the Mexican nationals back to Mexico or released them.

OJJPAC would like to know where the Mexican migrants were to be dropped off in Ohio and who owned the van?  Obviously there is a human trafficking network operating in Ohio, and it needs to be shut down. 

OJJPAC will be following-up on this story..