The 25-year-old Honduran accused of running an international smuggling ring, the actions of which led to the May deaths of 19 aliens in the back of a trailer in Texas, ran her operation with an almost corporate sense of sophistication and efficiency, news sources reported.
Cox News Service has reported that Karla Patricia Chavez, who lived legally in Harlingen until she fled to Guatemala prior to her arrest, led five so-called cells, all headed by independent managers who worked to pull off the venture.
Tyrone Williams of Schenectady, NY, was charged last month with smuggling aliens and conspiracy. Authorities said Williams is an owner-operator who transports milk from New York to Texas and carries watermelons back to New York.
Some 40 to 80 persons fled the back of Williams's truck as deputies tried to administer first aid to more than 60 others left behind, Victoria County Sheriff Mike Ratcliff told CNN.
The immigrants reportedly paid a fee of $1,800 each to be brought across the U.S. border.
Of the 19 people who died, 13 were found inside the truck, and four were found on the ground outside, Ratcliff said. Two persons later died at a hospital.
"It's a classic business enterprise," U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby said after a news conference Monday to announce indictments against the 13 suspected ring members and their leader. "This is about the American dollar, and people who are willing to risk anyone's life to get that dollar bill."
The 31-page indictment provides a comprehensive view into how Chavez coordinated the ring's efforts to smuggle immigrants into the United States, temporarily feed and house them in drop houses, and arrange for transportation from the border area.