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Colombian Woman Indicted For Smuggling Over 100 Colombian Nationals Into the United States

By on March 19, 2024 0 28Views

Greiby Melissa Barcelo-Velasquez, a national of Colombia, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of Conspiracy to Encourage and Induce an Alien to Unlawfully Enter the United States and Bringing an Illegal Alien to the United States for Profit. Federal agents have identified well over 100 individuals utilizing Barcelo-Velasquez’s organization to be successfully smuggled into the United States in Arizona.

Since approximately June 2023, Barcelo-Velasquez owned and operated the Baul Travel SAS travel agency in Colombia. In late 2023, United States Border Patrol Sector Intelligence and Homeland Security Investigations began investigating Barcelo-Velasquez after arresting numerous Colombian nationals who identified her as their smuggling coordinator.

Barcelo-Velasquez would meet with the Colombian nationals in Colombia, require them to pay a fee, and then informed them they would travel to Mexico under the false pretense they were vacationing in the country. They were also informed they would need to pay additional fees to her associates in U.S. currency at the Cancun International Airport and in Hermosillo, Mexico to facilitate their travel. Once in Hermosillo, the Colombian nationals were taken to stash houses near the border between Mexico and the United States. These stash houses would also contain others who were seeking to enter the United States illegally. From the stash houses they were transported, many times by armed gunmen, to the border where they illegally crossed into the United States.

Conspiracy to Encourage and Induce an Alien to Unlawfully Enter the United States carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Bringing an Illegal Alien to the United States for Profit carries at least a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000.

Customs and Border Protection’s United States Border Patrol Sector Intelligence and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, is handling the prosecution.