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LAX employee arrested in alleged immigrant smuggling plot

September 4, 2008 |  8:48 am

A longtime elevator mechanic at Los Angeles International Airport has been charged with smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States by leading them out of the terminal before they were inspected by federal authorities, reports Anna Gorman this morning.

Roberto Amaya Canchola, 53, was arrested at the airport Aug. 23 after a sting operation involving federal immigration agents. Authorities believe the North Hills resident smuggled in at least 15 illegal immigrants, including two with criminal records who had previously been deported. They all arrived on Mexicana flights from Guanajuato, Mexico, officials said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. attorney's office are still investigating the allegations. Agents believe that Canchola was only one player in a larger smuggling organization and that he probably was used for his airport access.

To read more about the alleged smuggling ring, click here.

For more on immigration, hit this link.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

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