LA couple charged in illegal immigration service

A Los Angeles couple has been charged with running what amounted to a bus service for illegal immigrants from Mexico.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Portland accused 31-year-old Nabor Castaneda-Cortez and 36-year-old Norma Delia Lopez-Ramirez of operating as "rieteros," transporting illegal immigrants after they cross the border.

The Oregonian reported that the case took shape last week when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Medford learned that a Mexican national who had been smuggled into the U.S. would be turned over to his family at the Valley of the Rogue rest area.

Just after midnight on June 17, agents arrested Castaneda and Ramirez and nine undocumented aliens they were transporting in a minivan, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

In the complaint, agents say Castaneda admitted he lives in the U.S. illegally and runs an underground bus service. He told them business is so bad he had to sell some of his vans and drive himself because he and his wife couldn't afford to hire drivers anymore.

The couple was transporting six adults and three children who were headed to cities in Oregon and Washington.

— The Associated Press

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