A Texas woman faces federal charges after she allegedly held 17 undocumented immigrants hostage. According to the US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, the 30-year-old was brought before a judge for the first time on Thursday. Officer accuses Manuela Magdalena Jimon Castro with “accommodating foreigners” by criminal complaint. Manuela allegedly joined forces with several organizations to hold the immigrants hostage until they paid thousands of dollars for their freedom.
The complaint states that Manuela, a family member, and an “illegal immigrant smuggling operation” worked together to hold the immigrants at Manuela’s home. In addition to the hostage component, Manuela is said to have also allegedly threatened them without food or water. To be freed, Manuela and her partners required each immigrant to pay between $11,000 and $12,000 in advance or work off the debt.
How Authorities Discovered the Illegal Hostage Immigrant Program
Police were alerted to the scheme by law enforcement in California. A woman contacted police saying her sister was being held for ransom in Texas. The unidentified woman said her sister traveled to Mexico from Guatemala – hoping to find asylum in the United States. Instead, the undocumented immigrant crossed the Mexico-US border under the command and captivity of a Mexican cartel. In Friona, Texas, the undocumented woman managed to escape. Before escaping, she sent her sister a pin with her location.
Law enforcement agencies interviewed the immigrant. She revealed that someone forced her into a car at gunpoint in Mexico. Months later, the suspected smuggling cartel took them across the southern border and then took them from house to house in New Mexico and Texas. Her captors refused to let her go and eventually she ended up at Manuela’s house. Under Manuela’s supervision, the woman was told she could not leave without coughing up $12,000.
Police took action after questioning the woman and another person being held captive at the residence. During a search of the apartment, the police found at least 17 undocumented immigrants. According to the statement, two of the people found were two minor children. Manuela’s house didn’t have much furniture, but police found mattresses and blankets scattered on the floor. When the police entered the residence, most of the captured immigrants tried to hide in the attic, in closets, and in bags covered with blankets.
Detailed scheme for recovered undocumented persons to the police
After the search, the police interviewed the undocumented people. Not only did they admit to their illegal, smuggled entry into the US, but they also opened up about the people who ran the show. The immigrants said the smugglers took their cellphones but allowed contact to collect their “entrance fee” coins. Some genuinely believed they had to pay the fee to leave Friona, the statement said.
If Manuela is convicted of “hosting extraterrestrials”, she faces up to five years in prison. It is unclear how many other immigrants held Manuela and associated entities hostage and charged for their freedom.
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https://theshaderoom.com/woman-charged-after-holding-at-least-17-immigrants-hostage-and-demanding-they-pay-thousands-for-freedom/ Woman charged after holding 17 immigrants hostage for ransom