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- 05-15-2012, 11:05 PM #1
2 indicted in Edinburg 'Hell' stash-house case - 115 illegal immigrants
2 indicted in Edinburg 'Hell' stash-house case
May 15, 2012 7:07 PM
More than 100 illegal immigrants were rescued Wednesday morning, May 2, 2012, from a set of stash houses in the 2800 block of East University Drive in Edinburg. A call from one of the trapped immigrants brought police to the houses to find them locked from the outside.
McALLEN — A grand jury Tuesday indicted two Honduran nationals accused of operating several stash houses in Edinburg, where authorities this month uncovered 115 illegal immigrants, some who claimed to have been held without food or water for days. The indictment accuses Vicente Ortiz Soto and Marcial Salas Gardunio, both 24-year-old Mexican nationals, with conspiracy to harbor aliens and alien harboring, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston said in a news release.
Edinburg police responded to a 9-1-1 call from a house along East University Drive, where an illegal immigrant claimed he and dozens of others had been held against their will without food or water.
Several immigrants scattered when police arrived at the scene and cut through chains that locked one of three stash houses with dozens of immigrants inside. The rental houses were at the end of a dirt lane secluded from the highway.
A Honduran national told an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent that Salas greeted him and other new guests by saying “Welcome to Hell,” and would give them little food, a criminal complaint states.
Salas told investigators that Ortiz paid him $500 per week to draft ledgers and track the immigrants, as well as feed and transport them, the complaint states.
The immigrants stashed at the property came from Mexico and Central and South America. Several people received medical treatment after authorities freed them from the locked house.
If convicted, Ortiz and Salas each face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count. No trial date in the case has been set.
More than 100 illegal immigrants were rescued Wednesday morning, May 2, 2012, from a set of stash houses: Now Photo : TheMonitor.com
- 05-16-2012, 04:40 PM #2
I.C.E. News Release
May 15, 2012
2 Mexican nationals indicted for alien harboring
Edinburg stash house case dubbed "Welcome to Hell"
MCALLEN, Texas — A Mexican couple was indicted Tuesday for conspiring to harbor aliens and alien harboring, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation is being led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol.
Vicente Ortiz-Soto and Marcial Salas-Gardunio, both 23 and Mexican nationals, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to harbor aliens and alien harboring. The indictment returned May 15 alleges local law enforcement officers, working alongside federal authorities, were sent to a residence in Edinburg, Texas, May 2, after a 911 caller indicated he was being held against his will in an alien stash house.
According to court documents, upon arrival at the scene, authorities discovered more than 100 undocumented aliens of various countries of origin located in three separate buildings on the property. One building was chain-locked and several undocumented aliens who were locked inside the building were treated for injuries.
Statements taken from the undocumented aliens indicated they were allegedly threatened by Salas-Gardunio that they would be beaten or killed if they did not remain quiet. Additionally, witnesses indicated Salas-Gardunio stated "Welcome to Hell" when undocumented aliens arrived at the residence.
HSI arrested the couple May 2 without incident. Both will remain in federal custody without bond pending trial. A date for their arraignment on the formal charges alleged in the indictment will be set by the court in the near future.
If convicted, Ortiz-Soto and Salas-Gardunio could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cory J. H. Crenshaw, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that an indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. The defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form.
U.S. Dept of Homeland Security
2 Mexican nationals indicted for alien harboringNO AMNESTY
DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP