SPRING, Texas – A human smuggling ring in Houston has been busted-up by local authorities after concerned relatives called them when coyotes refused to release a illegal immigrant family member unless they paid the coyotes extra money. The smugglers have been forcing the men to work and would send the money earned back to a criminal organization in Mexico.
At a press conference on Friday morning, Harris County Precinct Four Constable Mark Herman told the media that they rescued a man who had been illegally smuggled from Mexico. Herman said the family had already paid the coyotes $2,000 but they wanted $900 more. The coyotes threatened to kill the man, and had threatened the family. The family was “frantic” said the constable when they called law enforcement authorities.
The entire video was live-streamed by KTRK-ABC13’s Steve Campion.
In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Constable Herman said, “Our investigation revealed the family members contacted an alien smuggling organization operating in Mexico for the purpose of smuggling the male victim into the United States via the Texas – Mexico border.”
He said the family initially wired two payments to the alien smuggling organization in the amount of $950.00 each. The family members were notified by the coyotes to meet in Houston, Texas and pay the $2,000.00 for his release.
Law enforcement officials from the Houston, Texas, area also rescued three other victims who had entered the United States illegally nearly two months before.
The three smuggling suspects were identified as Kilmer Roberto Yanes Zavala, Weldin Yobany Ayala Soriano, and Hector Rodriguez Sanchez. They have been placed in the Harris County jail with no bond.
A fourth illegal alien was arrested at the stash house and charged with four Counts of 1st degree felony aggravated kidnapping. The fourth suspect was identified as Heivi Martinez-Garcia.
The smugglers have been charged with felonies, aggravated smuggling, and aggravated kidnapping, and have been handled over to the Department of Homeland Security.
The smugglers put the illegal immigrants to work during the day, kept the money they earned, and then stripped them down to their underwear and put them in a room at night.
The constable said they raided the human smuggling stash house on Thursday after a family who had traveled from Maryland to Texas called them.
The constable said these illegal immigrants put their lives at great risk by coming into the country in this way.
Constable Mark Herman said that most of the time these crimes go unreported, and that these smugglers are “very, very, violent.”
The Harris County constable’s office will be working with the Department of Homeland Security on these cases. The Houston Police Department also assisted in the raid.
One of the smugglers received some injuries as he tried to flee the scene at the stash house.
When interviewed by law enforcement officers, neighbors told the officers about the comings and goings at the house but they had not seen anything that raised red flags.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and an associate judge. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2