Northern Border Crisis: NJ-Based Gang Smuggles Illegal Immigrants

While America’s illegal immigrant issues always seem geared towards the southern border, the crisis faced by the northern border seems to be neglected. According to a newly released report, a gang based out of New Jersey made up of illegal immigrants, is smuggling other illegals into the U.S. through Canada for a hefty $6,000 price tag.

Court documents state that the gang is known as a “human smuggling organization,” helping illegals cross the U.S.-Canada border near Franklin, Vermont.

According to The Daily Mail, the gang has been smuggling illegals across the northern border since 2019, using the border between Quebec and Vermont.

Two of the gang’s ringleaders, Jhon Reina-Perez and Victor Lopez-Padilla, are illegals from Guatemala and Colombia who snuck across the Mexican border and settled in New Jersey. They were caught by U.S. authorities, who tracked their vehicles and cell phones.

“They use the phones to research related topics, to select locations for crossings and pick-ups, and to navigate to those locations while driving or on foot,” agent Loomis explained in an affidavit. “Cellular phones are often used to both guide and track the migrants when they illegally enter the country and look for the pick-up location.”

Reina-Perez, 34, entered the country in April 2022, crossing from Mexico to the El Paso, Texas area, according to court documents. Lopez-Padilla, 35, illegally crossed the southern border on June 20, 2019. Both men were previously arrested, but released by ICE.

To smuggle illegals across the border, the ringleaders would pay drivers, who would transport them deeper into the country, according to The Daily Mail. The drivers also held illegal statuses.

Last June, Elmer Bran-Galvez, an alleged driver for the gang, was stopped by border agents in Franklin, Vermont with four illegals in his vehicle. He told the agents that he was paid $1,800 for each illegal he transported. He was not charged.

The northern border saw 10,021 arrests in 2023 for illegal crossings, which is five times more than the amount in 2022. This number pales in comparison to the 2 million plus illegals that overburden the southern border.