Questioning Human Trafficker at US/Mexico Border

Apr 28, 2021 522.5K Views 1.8K Comments

Today I’m talking to a human trafficker at the US/Mexico border. A totally different perspective on a very complicated topic. Episode 4 of 6.

Good afternoon guys! Well, I
got quite a video coming to you
in just a couple of minutes
time. I’m going to meet someone
that works independently as a
contractor under a cartel, and
if I seem a bit relaxed, it’s
because we were going to do it
in Mexico and now we’re doing
it here in McAllen. I have to
have my phone shut off. We have
to meet in a public place and
what are we going to get into?
Well, it’s not just happening
below the border here. Human
trafficking is happening in the
states and so when migrants
come over, there’s a whole
network, there’s a whole
business model, there’s a whole
industry, and that’s what we’re
going to learn about very soon.
And I’m going to see how far I
don’t want to press boundaries,
but I’m going to see how much
information I can get about
this.. let’s call it industry
that really none of us know
about. Should be interesting.
Okay, let’s do this.
Alright guys.
Here we are! And Raul. He’s going
to translate. And this is “Tony”,
and I think we just want to
start it off by.. what is
Tony do exactly? Yeah,
this is Tony here.
Okay, basically what he’s
saying his job is – he’s an
independent, you can say,
“contractor”, that gets paid
by the cartel to bring
people across
into Texas. Once they get
to their destination in
Houston, it’s up to them where
they go and what they do. Okay, so..
But he also said that he
works very different from
everybody else. He does get paid
for what he does. He says
I do to help people out,
even though I do get paid, and
and my job is to get them to
where they’re trying to go.
Who are his clients right
Okay, basically what he’s
saying is that he prefers to
work with Mexicans
instead of people from other
countries, and the reason why he
prefers to work with them with
Mexicans that are trying to
come to the US instead of
people from other countries,
for the simple reason –
a lot of times they don’t
pay or they have problems with
them once they get to their
final destination and stuff
like that. So he prefers to
work with the Mexican or people
from Mexico. Okay, can
you explain the term “human
trafficker”, because I think of
something.. I think of something
terrible, right? It’s
basically just you take
money, someone’s paying you
directly, and you’re getting
them from point “A” to point “B”.
Is that the story or..?
Everything starts in Mexico.
Point “B” will be here in the
Valley, and the Valley being
right over the Rio Grande River
McAllen, Texas. Yes, Southern
Southern Temple, Texas. Okay.
Basically, he can work either
here in the valley or work in
the Laredo area, even though it
might belong to somebody else,
since he’s an independent
contractor, he can work for
anybody, with any different
cartel or whoever’s willing to
pay him to do something.
So the cartel contracts him?
Yes. Okay. And they say: “Tony,
we need.. what like, one person,
a van of people, how does this work?
He rather rather do from five
to eight people at a time, he
does not like doing a bunch of
people at one time, that way he
doesn’t get hit in the long run
or get you know..
draw too much attention where
they start watching him whether
it’s the government from
here, or the government from Mexico,
or just somebody in general.
So most people think when they
think trafficking, at least I
did, I thought it only
happened mostly below the
border, but does
Tony say there’s a lot going on
in the US right now?
He’s saying that he
cannot judge anybody for
wanting to come to the United
States. Okay. But all these
people that are coming from all
these other countries to the
United States,
they’re drawing
attention to him and his job.
They’re drawing heat to him and
his job, because they’re
creating too much attention,
for example, with the media,
with the Mexican military,
the United States military,
just Border Patrol in
general. So, like I said, he
can’t judge anyone they can
come over here, because
they’re being allowed to.
But, like I said, it does make his
job harder. What’s his job
exactly? Does he drive.. He picks
up people in one location,
drives them himself to the just and
end point or what?
Basically what he’s saying his
job is to transport people, once
they get off the river,
whoever’s holding them off the
river, and there’s no more
Border Patrol or anybody else
around, he’ll pick them up, he’ll
bring them back to whatever
location. Once he brings them
to the location, he’ll feed them
give them clothing, whatever they
need. Meanwhile, he’s waiting
for the other transportation to
get to pick up these people,
whether it’s to take them to
Laredo, from Laredo they
go up north, or if it’s to take
them here in the Valley,
whether it’s just take them up
north directly from whatever
location they’re at. And that’s
it? Basically he’s a middle
man between the between the
Valley and the rest of the
United States. What ages of
people, all ages or..?
Basically the age they
deal with is from 16 to
maybe about 60-70 years old. He
has gotten old people before, he
has gotten sick people before,
and they have gotten to their
destination. His
thing is not back to
the flux that’s happening
right now, with the
unaccompanied minors and stuff,
because, as we’ve
discussed, those roam
freely after they get to Border
Patrol, but these are the
other people that don’t want to
get caught. Because
they’re Mexicans.
Yes. Right now, there’s a
policy other than Mexicans can
be let into the asylum. Right
now there’s 100 day policy set
by Biden when he took over,
saying for the first 100
days there is no deportation for
other than Mexicans – “OTMs”, for
other than Mexicans. So, like I
said his job is to get those
Mexicans, who want to come in.
So this policy is good for his
business right now? In a way –
yes. But like he said it
creates the tension, where
you have more people, more
equipment, more everything that
hinders him from doing his job.
Gotcha gotcha. So, why does he
do it?
He says that he does it for the
necessity. It’s a job to
him. Because there’s a huge
influx the last few months,
what does he think about
that? What’s going on?
What he’s saying is that, you
know what, he’s no one to judge
that. People come
to the United States,
but at the end of the day,
they’re fleeing
their country because of
violence and all this stuff.
Well, if they’re fleeing their
their country due to
violence, he’s asking, how can a
parent give up their child just
to anybody, and let their child
go alone? Make their journey
from South America to the
United States? He’s saying,
you’re taking the risk of
something happening to your
child, whether they’re being
kidnapped, or raped, or
something happened to them:
drowning in the river or
something, because you don’t
know! So how can people use
that that excuse saying: “Hey,
I’m leaving my country or I’m
doing this for this reason”.
Does Tony have any kids?
He has five kids. Okay. And what
does he think about the border
and customs protection right
What he’s saying, you know
what, that he praises Border
Patrol and everybody for doing
their job. They’re doing an
excellent job, that’s
coming from him.
He likes them? Yes, he had nothing
against them, you know what
they’re doing – they’re
doing their job. They’re not
his enemies? They’re not his
enemies. So he’s saying they’re
doing a great job and
everything, but at the end of
the day, it’s not only border
patrols problem. These people
that are coming to the United
States, OTMs, other than
Mexican, they’re causing
problems all throughout their
country while traveling this
way, causing problems all
through Mexico, and he’s glad
that the United States had
stopped those people from
coming this way, which is back
with the prior administration.
Even though his business model
is taking migrants and
that’s moving into the States,
the answer to that is yes, and
the reason why it’s yes to that
is because like he said
his main thing is to
bring Mexicans into the United
States or Mexican people into
the United States. Okay, got
you. We can turn around guys,
we’ll just go back.
Alright, take two!
What is what is the hardest
part of the job?
The hardest thing he’s done in
his job is actually walking the
people pass the checkpoint
through the brush and stuff
like that, he’s done the
smuggling part also, he’s done
different parts of this
job.. that he does. What kind
of money is in it? As far
as what they pay or what
he gets paid? Yeah, if
you can disclose or just give
us a rough estimate of what’s
possible? What part though?
What they pay them or what they
pay him? Both. I would like both.
00:11:28,120 –> 00:11:32,460
Okay right now what
they’re charging is probably
half of what everybody else is
charging. Normally they
charge around $3,000 to cross
just the river itself. They’re charging
about a $1,500, they’re charging
half the price of what
everybody else is charging.
Okay, it’s.. They’re
charging by.. I said
so much to cross the river,
so much
to go from here to
Laredo, so much from Laredo to
Houston, for example. They
charge it in pieces. That’s the
reason why just a $1,500 – it’s
just across the river. How does
a Mexican family that
doesn’t have much money afford
all of these? Their family
in the state sending?
What he’s saying that he can’t
tell you for sure what people
do whether they sell their
stuff or whatever, that’s
something he can’t answer. What
he is saying, is how they charge
by parts. They don’t give the
whole money upfront. Okay.
They’re giving their words and
you know what, we’ll get you
from here to here, here to here,
here to here. The families
from up North are
usually the ones who put in the
money for the people that are
in Mexico trying to come this
way. This is the people
that are that are in
transit, you put it that way,
the people that are in transit, they
usually carry a few dollars on
them, with them for whatever
they might want or need along
the way. Okay..
Does he think there’s
anything wrong with what he
does or does he feel like he’s
doing a good thing for people?
He said he’s doing
it to help out people:
here in the United States, we
might look at him as doing
something wrong, because he is
receiving money.
If I don’t do it,
someone else is going to do it
either way. Okay. The
thing is, you know what, going
through me – it’s a lot cheaper
than going through someone
else. Plus they’re
actually going to do the job
and do what they tell you
they’re going to do. Other
people might kidnap you or
something, hold you for ransom,
they don’t do that kind of
stuff. What’s up with sex
trafficking right now? He says
he can’t talk, because he
does not do that stuff. Okay.
Since he’s in the in the
business, he knows what’s going
on what right now. What
percentage of people coming
over are treated in a good way and
what percentage of people coming
over are getting into terrible
situations like sex trafficking
He’s heard it before of
different stories and stuff. He
can only tell you about
stories he’s heard, not
anything they’ve done. But
where someone said: “You know
what, we’ll take you
across and stuff, they charge
X amount of dollars. They
wound up raping those females
or kids or whoever was there
and then they just wind up,
leaving them in the middle of
the brush somewhere. That was it.
So there are stories of stuff
that’s happened, but
he’s saying: you know what, with
him and his crew and his people
they don’t do that kind
of stuff. Okay. Because at the
end of the day, that’s what
brings them money. Their
families, they say, you
know what, these are the people that do
it, these people that help you
out, these people that bring you
in, they’re cheaper or
whatever. Okay.
What were the.. you didn’t tell
me, because I told you to tell
me on camera, when we got out of
the car, you show me these
bracelets, anklet things or
ankle bracelet things. Actually,
there’s some bracelets here,
I’ll have him explain what they
are. Yeah. What are they,
Basically, these are bracelets
that they put on the leeway.
They’re different colors:
there’s yellow ones, gold ones,
there’s red ones, there’s blue
ones. Every organization has
their own bracelet and what it
stands for. Now, I’ll let
him explain what it’s for.
He said what all these
bracelets here put on the on
the people that they mean
something: they all have a
number. I can’t show you that
number because they don’t know
where it came from. Yes. That
number is written, basically in
a log with all that
immigrants information and
stuff, so they can.. they’re able
to track them, where they’re
headed to, where they’re going
down the pipeline.
The migrants have to keep that
on them at all times? What’s
happening.. basically once the
people get to Mexico, they’ll
say I guess..
A smuggler in Mexico. They
brought somebody to Reynosa,
for example. Reynosa is
the city right below the border?
Yes, it’s a border town
right here, right across from
McAllen Mission. So
what happens they gotta call
and say: you know what I got
five people. I need to bring
them down to the river, so we
can cross them into the United
States. So from there..
Okay, what happens, they send
somebody to meet up with
that person, that smuggler. That
way they could be able to pay
what they’re going to pay to, to
put them or to give them
attention or whatever, to
acknowledge that they want
to move somebody across.
the way they were doing it,
they were they were giving you
basically a free pass. They
smuggled a Mexican
resident into the
United States. Okay. If they
got caught they get thrown back.
As long as they have this
bracelet on and the number
coincides with their
books and stuff, they were able
to get another chance for free.
He didn’t think they’re doing
that anymore. Now, if you get
caught, they’re going to
recharge you again, whatever
they’re charging you to
bring you across again. And
before they used to give you
the basically an insurance
policy, say, hey, you got another
free shot. If you get caught,
you got another free shot. Now,
the way he thinks it is, that
you don’t.
Basically what this says is
that you’ve already reported to
somebody in Mexico, saying you
know what: I’m here and I’m
trying to get to United States.
So once they put this on you,
that means let’s say you’re
already in the log books
basically, showing that you’ve
already reported to somebody.
If you’re are from
somewhere else and you’re here
in Renosa, for example, and you
don’t have this bracelet, there
could be different options that
might happen to you: they could
kill you, they could beat you,
they could charge you a fine.
Who’s going to kill and beat?
The cartel. How many cartels are
there? There’s different ones,
but it depends who catches
you okay. Say, for
example, I’m from Jalisco
Mexico. For example, I come to
Renosa. I’m in Renosa and I’m
trying to get to the United
States, and I’m trying to do
it on my own. Yeah. I guess
that’s why no one does it on
their own. The proper
way they’re supposed to report
to somebody whichever cartel or
whoever. They report to somebody,
like I said, they’re logged in
their all the information’s put
in, so that everybody knows
what’s what. In this case, like
I said, if I’m from
from Jalisco and I’m in Renosa,
if I don’t have this bracelet on,
they’re going to say: who
are you? Why are you here?
They’re going to question you
and stuff, and, like I said, from
there they can fine you,
for, you know what, we’re going
to fine you, so they might pick
you up and hold you hostage
until that fine is paid,
or they might beat you or
something or, like I said,
worst case scenario – they might
kill you. Because at the end of
the day, what they’re trying to
tell these people: you’re not
going to do anything without my
permission. You can’t do
anything coming into this city,
because you gotta go through
somebody to be able to come to
the United States. I guess that
answers the question from the
other day: why they don’t come
directly and and walk on the
bridge and say: “I’m right here”
to seek asylum – they have
to go through a process, and it has
to be recognised through
the different cartels.
Do you think.. I don’t want to
go too long in this, but..
cartels are intertwined with
police forces in different
regions of Mexico or that’s
hard to say?
He says – yes. He said that the
police is mixed up with the cartels,
because they wind up paying
them off to look the other way
or to do stuff for them. So what
makes more money over the
border now: drugs or people?
He says people make more money.
Wow, so there’s
more competition to get
people over than drugs over?
I asked him how much from
Jalisco, Mexico, for example to
Houston, he says he can’t
answer that question because he
covers from Renosa to Houston.
Renosa to Houston you’re
going to pay a total of about
$9,600. Wow! Just from Renosa to
Houston, but that’s paid in
parts. Like I said, to cross the
river so much, from here to
Laredo so much, from Laredo to
Houston, another amount or
whatever. Are there any times
the cartels like let someone go
without all the money and then
they sort of have to
make payments. That’s what I’m
telling him that you heard rumours.
He says there’s very few
people that will actually let
you go without paying your full
money at the final destination.
Okay. You know, for the simple
reason: it’s happened to him
before when you promise to
pay and they don’t get
paid. So that’s the reason why
by the time you get to your
final destination, before they
release, you’re going to pay
up what you owe. Okay.
So guys, I got one one last
question, we’ll stand out
of the wind here: what is Tony
have to say about his
profession? Is there anything
he wants the world to know
exactly about him or his
What he’s trying to say is
that at the end of the
day we’re not all the same.
Yes I smuggle people, but you
know what, I’m not out doing
something wrong like other
people might be doing as far as
raping people, selling people,
stuff like that. So not
everybody’s the same. He
doesn’t want to be classified
as everybody else. You know
what, he’s not smuggling kids,
he’s not doing stuff like
that he’s not supposed to.
He’s just trying to help
somebody coming to the United
States, because they want to
come in for whatever reason: a
better life, for whatever the
reason might be. Okay.
Alright guys another
view of the border region here
between US and Mexico. It’s
complicated. There are a lot of
moving parts, and I’m trying to
deliver you as many of them as
I can. It’s getting dark.
Thanks you guys. Thanks for the
translation. No problem. And
thanks Tony for being on
camera and telling your story.
Thank you, okay.
Alright, that was quite
interesting and a first for me.
I’m sure a first for most of
you. And the point I do this,
the reason why I’m doing
this is to bring you into
a different perspective, a
world that you would normally
not get into. And I’m not
telling you to agree or
disagree. I am very much
against illegal immigration.
I’m not supporting it here.
What I am trying to do is show
you that this is a very
complicated topic with a lot of
moving parts. If you watch my
full series, I’m trying to hit
it from all different angles.
An interesting
thing about Tony is you know
I’m thinking trafficker – so
what comes to mind: sex
trafficker, guy with guns that
likes to kill people and.. You
know, I do believe, you never
know what goes on, what
someone is really doing
behind the scenes, but I do
believe that he is moving
people from point “A” to point “B”,
and that’s his business, and he
almost even had like a soft
side to him in the car. You
know at first, I was nervous.
I was like, you know, how often do
you hang out with traffickers?
And you know what is this going
to be like? And it was.. it
was actually quite
surprisingly normal, all of it.
And the deeper I go into this
rabbit hole, this border
migration rabbit hole, the more
confusing, and complicated, and
difficult it gets. You know, you
would need years down here to
really understand what’s going
on. But that’s just a little
taster, a little teaser and
hopefully it opens a
discussion, it opens a
different way of thinking
perhaps. I know this is
triggering content. There’s no
way around that, it’s such a
hot topic. I want to thank the
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other things. Thanks for
watching this video. If this
topic.. if you made it this far,
you’re probably into this
topic, so watch the other ones.
Watch the other ones from the
series about the border. I got
2 more days here, and I got
3 more videos to make.
It’s been a wild ride,
my head feels like it’s
going to explode a bit, because
of the amount of new
information I’ve received.
Thanks for coming along! Till
the next one. Take care!

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