By Levon Putney

NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) — Federal officials in New Jersey have arrested six suspects in connection with a human smuggling ring that had been running since 2008.

Authorities say this was a well-connected, international human smuggling ring.

“We estimated between 500 and 1,000 people have been smuggled in by this,” said Homeland Security investigations deputy Mark Witdzal.

Six suspects are accused of bringing in Brazilians and others, either through Mexico or the Caribbean islands.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports: Officials Say This Was ‘A Huge Operation’

Witdzal says if the victims could not pay the $13,000 to $25,000 fee, they would work off their debt in strip clubs or as prostitutes.

“They weren’t necessarily forced into prostitution, but it was something available to them,” said Witdzal.

He says the operation had ties to Texas, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Is enough being done to prevent illegal immigration and human trafficking? Sound off in our comments section.

Watch & Listen LIVE