Border Crisis

4 Migrants Held Hostage in Houston Human Smuggling Stash House 350 Miles from Border

HOUSTON, Texas — An FBI raid led to the rescue of four migrants being held for ransom by suspected human smugglers in southeast Houston on April 3.  The alleged smugglers demanded $15,000 from family members for the release of the migrants, a victim’s family member reported.

On March 27, a woman walked into a Houston Police Department precinct office and said her boyfriend had been kidnapped, according to a report by Fox 26 Houston. She said William Manriquez traveled to Mexico to visit a sick family member. When he attempted to return to Texas by illegally crossing the border between ports of entry, suspected human smugglers allegedly kidnapped him and demanded $15,000 for the release of Manriquez and three other people being held in the smuggling operation.

Police managed to trace a call from the kidnappers to the victims’ families. Police located the stash house, which was identified as a short-term rental property on the city’s southeast side, Fox 26 reported.

A Probable Cause Affidavit filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas states that Manriquez traveled to the Mexican state of Michoacan on March 19 to visit his sick mother. He returned to Texas and made his way to San Antonio after illegally crossing the border, the affidavit states.

The family received a call on March 25 from the alleged kidnappers, who said they were holding Manriquez and demanded a payment of $15,000. They reportedly said that if the family did not pay or if they notified the police, their family member would be killed. The kidnappers also threatened to come for her, the affidavit states.

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The traced phone call on April 1, enabled the FBI to contact the owner of the short-term rental property who advised they had Nest cams installed on the property. The owner provided the FBI with the live feed stream to the cameras.

Two days later, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team entered the home and rescued the migrants being held for ransom.

Manriquez told the FBI the kidnappers physically abused him and held guns to his head. On at least one occasion, the kidnappers allegedly threatened to kill him.

Police arrested four suspected kidnappers at the scene. The suspects were identified as Luis Enrique Duran Montilla, Gerson Adony Chicas Alfaro, Keven Armando Marcano, and Elloy M. Figueroa Pedraza, Fox 26 reported.

The entire court document is available on Fox 26.

“The FBI says this is a part of a larger-scale investigation and they can’t release any more information on what happened inside the house or the status of the ‘potential victims,’” Fox 26 stated.

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday morning talk show. He also serves as president of Blue Wonder Gun Care Products 

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