Man arrested in Texas in smuggling scheme involving Craigslist

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2012 11:33 PM

By Jared Taylor

(Reuters) - A man suspected of using the online advertising site Craigslist to recruit drivers for a scheme to transport illegal immigrants in a Texas border area with Mexico has been arrested and faces people-smuggling charges, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

José Gustavo Diaz-Velasquez, 29, was arrested last week in Rio Grande City following an investigation that began last year when immigration agents identified 10 Craigslist postings believed linked to the smuggling scheme, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement.

He added that Diaz-Velasquez, a Mexican citizen living illegally in Texas, had been ordered detained at a hearing pending indictment for smuggling illegal immigrants in connection with the scheme.

The statement said that a year ago, U.S. authorities had detained nine illegal immigrants following a high-speed pursuit with Diaz-Velasquez's car. The driver eluded capture, it added.

The arrest of Diaz-Velasquez marks the latest in a series of cases linked to perpetrators who either found victims through Craigslist or other social media sites or used the Internet to further criminal purposes.

An Ohio teen is due to go on trial later this year on charges of murdering one man and trying to kill another who responded to a bogus Craigslist ad last year promising a $300 a week job on an Ohio ranch.

In 2009, a former medical student was accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist and police believe a serial killer, or killers, in the New York area may be preying on prostitutes who advertised on the site.

In other incidents, victims advertising goods for sale have been attacked and killed as have those responding to ads. Two men in Tennessee were accused last month of killing a man and a woman for "defriending" the daughter of one of the suspects on Facebook.

(Writing By Cynthia Johnston; editing by Greg McCune and Todd Eastham)