July 17, 2007

Human Smugglers Arrested In Wheat Ridge

Bernardino Fuentes-Espinoza--CBS

Guadalupe Alvarez--CBS

Mexican nationals, caught passing counterfeit bills:
A fake $100 bill lead police to a van full of suspected illegal immigrants in Wheat Ridge Monday night, officers said.

Police said two men tried to pass off the counterfeit cash at a convenience store at West 32nd Ave. and Youngfield St.

Officers arrested the two Mexican nationals at the store on charges of human smuggling. Police found nine other men and women in a van outside. Two people ran from the van and haven't been seen since.

The two suspects were identified as Bernardino Fuentes-Espinoza, 35, and Guadalupe Alvarez, 42. Both were taken to the Jefferson County Jail on charges of smuggling of humans, a class 3 felony.

Wheat Ridge police said each person paid $2,500 for a trip into the United States.

The remaining seven passengers were assisted by the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT), sponsored by the Division of Criminal Justice at the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

Wheat Ridge Police were assisted by the FBI, Secret Service, ICE, and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
They caught this van, but how many more pass by on I-70?

Last year, Colorado State Patrol estimated 500 vehicles pass through the state each week.

This was just a drop in the bucket, caught only because they tried to pass a fake $100 bill.

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