Authors on the Airwaves: Hipólito Acosta and A. J. Irwin

Acosta and Irwin chosen as June 2016’s “Co-Authors of the Month” on Houston Public Media

Houston Public Media radio host Eric Ladau interviewed Acosta and Irwin for its website’s “Arte Público Press Author of the Month” feature, and along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners on the station’s interactive site through on-demand audio streaming here.

Click here to see all Arte Público authors featured on Houston Public Media.

About the Authors:

HIPÓLITO ACOSTA, the son of Mexican-American migrant workers, rose to be one of the most highly decorated officers in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. He is the author, with Lisa Pulitzer, of The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico’s Deadly Crime Cartels (Atria Books, 2012). He lives in Houston, Texas.

A.J. IRWIN’s career in law enforcement began by happenstance when he worked as an undercover cop for a small-town Georgia police department. He went on to become a federal agent known for his quick wit, hot temper, innovative ideas and tenacity, all focused on getting the bad guy. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

About their latest book, The Hunt for Maan Singh

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents Hipólito “Poli” Acosta and A.J. Irwin led the takedown of the largest human smuggling operation in history. Prior to this case, the INS was a federal agency whose strategy was limited to going after smugglers within U.S. borders. But this changed with the undercover operation to capture Maan Singh.

Naranjan Maan Singh, known as the godfather of alien smuggling, was responsible for 75% of South Asians entering the U.S. illegally through its southern borders. In a typical governmental bureaucracy, the intelligence community knew about the smuggler, but INS agents on the ground weren’t aware of his exploits. When the regional office learned about him, a plan was made to shut down the entire trafficking operation, from the coyotes at the bottom all the way to Maan Singh at the top.

Poli and A.J. risked their lives confronting thugs, corrupt police officers and hitmen in this dangerous undercover operation that spanned the globe, from Quito, Ecuador—Singh’s headquarters—to Guatemala, Panama, the Bahamas, and the United States. While the agents expected to confront danger while posing as smugglers, they didn’t expect their own colleagues to jeopardize their work—and lives— with petty jealousies and back-stabbing. A fascinating look at the inner workings of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, this exciting page-turner follows government agents as they expose money laundering and human trafficking throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S.