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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Illegal Aliens Held Hostage for Ransom

    http://www.kake.com/news/headlines/5620071.html

    Illegal Aliens Held Hostage for Ransom
    Indictments in Immigrant Abductions

    Nov 7, 2007

    (AP) -- Two men are charged with taking hostage illegal immigrants from another smuggler in Arizona and threatening the immigrants at gunpoint with torture unless they raised money for a ransom.

    US Attorney Eric Melgren told reporters today a minivan used by
    smugglers to transport eleven of the hostages had a flat tire on
    January 24th in Reno County. Sheriff's officers found the hostages
    after stopping to check on the van.


    The indictment was made public today.

    29-year-old Ramiro Alapizco-Valenzuela and 27-year-old Rene Cota-Beltran are charged with conspiracy to take hostages and conspiracy to knowingly transport aliens unlawfully in the United States. Both are Mexican citizens.

    They also face separate counts of taking hostages and knowingly
    transporting aliens unlawfully in the United States.

    Alapizco-Valenzuela is also charged with unlawfully re-entering
    the United States after being deported.

    News Release - US Attorney

    INDICTMENT ALLEGES ILLEGAL ALIENS WERE TAKEN HOSTAGE, THREATENED FOR RANSOM

    WICHITA, KAN. - Illegal aliens were taken hostage at gunpoint and told they'd be tortured or shot unless they raised money for a ransom, according to a federal grand jury's superceding indictment against two Mexican men. The defendants face a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.

    "According to the indictment, the victims had their shoes, cash and personal belongings taken to keep them from fleeing," said U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren. "They were held at gunpoint and told that if they couldn't raise money for a ransom payment they would have their fingers, hands or ears cut off - or they would be shot."

    Two Mexico citizens were charged Tuesday for their part in the conspiracy: Ramiro Alapizco-Valenzuela, 29, and Rene Cota-Beltran, 27.

    They face the following charges:

    - One count of conspiracy to take hostages
    - One count of taking hostages
    - One count of conspiracy to knowingly transport aliens unlawfully in the United States
    - One count of knowingly transporting aliens unlawfully in the United States

    In addition Alapizco-Valenzuela is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported.
    According to the indictment:

    On Jan. 18, 2007, coyotes (persons who illegally guide and assist foreign nationals unlawfully entering the United States) put 30 illegal aliens in a house in Peoria, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix. The aliens were to be hidden at the house on 69th Drive in Peoria until they were driven to their next destination. They were guarded by four Hispanic men who took their shoes and personal belongings and prevented them from moving about freely.

    At about 4 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2007, seven men brandishing firearms burst into the house, tied up the guards, forced the aliens into vehicles and took them to another house. The abductors demanded $2,000 each from the victims and told them to have their families or friends wire the money. Failure to pay, the abductors said, would cause the hostages to be injured, maimed or shot. The abductors pointed guns at the hostages, sometimes holding a gun to their heads.

    Over the next few days, 11 of the immigrants were able to secure $2,000 wire fund transfers. They were told they would have to pay another $500 cash on arrival at their destinations. On Jan. 22, the 11 aliens were loaded into a 1998 Chevrolet Ventura minivan. Most of them had no shoes and no personal belongings. Male hostages were not allowed to leave the van to urinate. They were only permitted to urinate in a plastic jug.

    Cota-Beltran and Alapizco-Valenzuela took turns driving the van eastward from Phoenix toward Florida. The trip came to a stop at about 5 a.m. Jan. 24, 2007, when a tire on the minivan went flat while the van was passing through Reno County, Kan.

    Reno County Sheriff's officers stopped to check on the van. Suspecting that the occupants were illegal aliens, the officers contacted federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who came to the scene and took the occupants of the minivan into custody.

    "It is a tragic fact that immigrants who are smuggled unlawfully into this country often are subjected to inhumane and dangerous conditions and violence," Melgren said. "Some are forced into prostitution or forced labor. Others die when they are drowned, or abandoned because of injuries or illness. Others are seriously injured in accidents or as a result of violent acts committed against them."

    "Alien smugglers are driven by greed and are notorious for having no regard for human life," said Pete Baird, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Kansas City. "This combination can be a painful wake-up call to aliens who naively pay thousands of dollars to be illegally smuggled into the United States. It's especially horrific to aliens used as pawns by competing smugglers who steal smuggling loads from each other and hold their cargo hostage." Baird oversees the states of Kansas and Missouri.

    A GROWING PROBLEM

    In Kansas, law enforcement officers are seeing a sharp increase not only in the number of illegal aliens entering the state, but in the number of them who have been injured or killed in the process of entering this country.

    This week, for instance, (in an unrelated indictment) Darvelio Valdivia-Alvarado, 38, was charged with unlawfully transporting illegal aliens within the United States in an incident that resulted in a death. The indictment charges that he was driving a load of illegal aliens in a minivan on Jan. 31, 2007, when the car went out of control and overturned on I-70 east of Abilene. One of the passengers, Augusto Vicente Rodriguez, was killed.

    "Cases like this put a strain on our resources," Melgren said. "But we can't look the other way while human beings are threatened, enslaved or injured."

    Upon conviction, the charges against Alpizco-Valenzuela and Cota-Beltran carry the following penalties:
    - Conspiracy to take hostages: A maximum penalty of life in prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
    - Taking hostages: A maximum penalty of life in prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
    - Conspiracy to knowingly transport illegal aliens: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
    - Knowingly transporting illegal aliens: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.
    - Unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported: A maximum penalty of 2 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000.

    As in any criminal case, a person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments filed merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nittygritty's Avatar
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    I don't know what these people expect who deal with thugs and smugglers, I am sorry, they must take responsibility themselves for what is happening.
    Build the dam fence post haste!

  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Smuggler Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

    Posted: 9:52 PM Oct 25, 2007
    Last Updated: 9:51 PM Oct 25, 2007

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A smuggler who was caught in Kansas with a
    minivan full of illegal immigrants faces seven years in federal prison.

    A federal judge in Wichita sentenced Ramiro Alapizco-Valenzuela to a longer term than sentencing guidelines provided.


    Prosecutors said about 20 immigrants were held hostage in Arizona, where smugglers demanded $2,000 from each of them. They were told that their fingers, hands or ears would be cut off if they didn't pay.

    Eleven of them paid up and were found in Reno County when a sheriff's deputy came across their stranded van.

    Prosecutors say Alapizco-Valenzuela is a Mexican citizen who is illegally in the United States.

    Another smuggler, Rena Cota-Beltran, 28, was previously sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role. Prosecutors say he is also an illegal alien from Mexico.


    http://www.wibw.com/news/headlines/10806671.html
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