Smuggling human beings has become a more profitable commodity than smuggling drugs. Just one person can command a profit of up to $100,000 for human smugglers, according to one criminologist in the Caribbean. That “premium package” could get the migrant a new identity, foreign passport, legitimate documents, and a plane ticket to the US.

According to criminologist Daurius Figueira in the island nation of Trinidad & Tobago, the smuggling of human cargo has higher profits and lower risks than smuggling drugs. He told The Guardian:

Just as the Mexican cartels are now dominating the drug trade in the Caribbean, they have now introduced a new dimension to human smuggling in the Caribbean by ‘coyotes’ or human smugglers. Trinidad & Tobago is a major transshipment point. The majority of people entering the Caribbean are moving to enter US territory. They are more valuable than carrying drugs; you make more money per head. It depends on what package they buy ranging from US$35,000, $50,000 to the US$100,000 ‘premium.’ If you go for anything cheaper than that it means you will end up getting abused.”

Figueira explained that for that smuggling fee, the coyote would transport the migrant from Trinidad & Tobago across the Caribbean to Belize in Central America. From there, the migrant would be moved into Mexico, then across the southwest border into the US. Canada is another popular destination, with smugglers using Chicago and the Great Lakes area as a waypoint.

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