Golden State Transportation,
a Los Angeles bus company, has been indicted on 39 counts of transporting
illegal aliens across the U.S./Mexican border. Most of those connected to
the scheme were arrested in a series of raids focused chiefly in California,
Arizona and Colorado.
Golden State Transportation's
majority owner, Sistema Internacional de Transporte de Autobuses, is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Greyhound Lines Inc. On Monday, the New York Times reported
that Justice officials have not linked Greyhound officials to the scheme.
Lynn Brown, a spokeswoman for Greyhound, described Greyhound's connection
to Golden State as that of an investor with no day-to-day operating involvement.
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft
said 32 of the indictments and arrests in the case were the result of a two-year
undercover investigation that involved more than 300 law enforcement personnel
from various state and federal agencies. The action was to point out the government
was cracking down on illegal immigration, Ashcroft said.
The complex scheme involved
smugglers, bus terminal workers and top officials of Golden State who solicited
as much as $1,500 from illegal immigrants wanting to be transported into the
United States. Reportedly, the company moved as many as 50 to 300 illegal
aliens a day, seven days a week over, the last five years.
Great Basin," by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the plot
revealed that smugglers picked up illegal aliens hiding in El Paso or Tucson
and transported them to Los Angeles, Denver or other U.S. cities. Phony names
were put on the passenger manifest, the immigrants concealed in the bus terminal
and then herded on the bus at departure time, usually late at night, officials
Federal authorities have
moved to freeze the assets of Golden State, which include 160 buses, corporate
bank accounts and terminals in Los Angeles, El Paso, and Tucson and property
in Las Vegas.