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Arte Público Press June Co-Authors Of The Month: Hipólito Acosta And A.J. Irwin

Acosta and Irwin’s new book takes readers through the challenging and dangerous process of capturing two of the most notorious human cargo smugglers in history.


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Hipólito Acosta and A.J. Irwin, co-authors of The Hunt for Maan Singh.
Hipólito Acosta and A.J. Irwin, co-authors of The Hunt for Maan Singh.

The year is 1996. The recently passed Omnibus Crime Bill allows (for the first time) agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to implement wiretaps and money laundering investigations under RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Initial investigations revealed that hundreds of Indians, Pakistanis, Syrians and other natives of South Asia and North Africa were being illegally smuggled into the United States through operations in Ecuador, the Bahamas and Venezuela among other Central and South American locations. Those individuals responsible for the smuggling were frequently charging as much as $30,000-40,000 per person.

Veteran INS agents Hipólito "Poli" Acosta and A.J. Irwin are given two assignments. The first is to track down, isolate and arrest the persons responsible for the smuggling of human cargo. The second is to figure out how so much money is being made despite little evidence of large amounts of cash being moved or funds being transferred electronically.

In their new book The Hunt for Maan Singh, Acosta and Irwin battle government bureaucracy, corrupt police officials, dangerous gun-toting thugs, bad weather, language barriers, professional jealousy, cruelty and greed in their attempts to stop this human trafficking and bring those responsible to justice.

Houston Public Media's Eric Ladau spoke with Hipólito Acosta and A.J. Irwin.

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