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Smuggling Ring Busted

President Bush, left, along with outgoing Veteran Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, center, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, take part in a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 25, 2007, with the co-chairs of the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors,
AP
Federal authorities have broken up an illegal immigrant smuggling ring that used a bus company to help hundreds illegally cross the Mexican border each month, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Monday.

The principal officers of Golden State Transportation, a Los Angeles-based regional bus company, and more than 30 of its employees were indicted in the probe of an alien smuggling ring.

The indictment alleges that Golden State conspired with migrant smugglers to move hundreds of undocumented immigrants every month from the Southwest border to destinations nationwide.

The investigation centered on Golden State's operations in California, Arizona and Colorado.

"Migrant smuggling circumvents the legal immigration process for profit," Ashcroft said. "Today's indictment underscores our commitment to prosecute migrant smugglers, seek forfeiture of their illegal profits and put them out of business."

The indictment alleges Golden State generated a substantial amount of its annual revenue by transporting undocumented immigrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to Los Angeles, Denver and Yakima, Wash.

The indictment also alleges the company routinely allowed migrant smugglers to purchase large blocks of tickets in advance and schedule bus departures and arrivals late at night to prevent detection by law enforcement.

Ashcroft made the announcement alongside Immigration and Naturalization Service Commission James Ziglar, who hailed the prosecution as "the largest human smuggling case involving a commercial enterprise" in recent history.

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