On Thursday, two Texas residents were charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping in Rosenberg after an alleged failure to collect a ransom from the relatives of a Honduran migrant. The migrant’s aunt attempted to secure the victim’s freedom at a meeting with the alleged traffickers. When an agreement on price could not be met, the alleged smugglers fled the area in a vehicle with the migrant in tow.
The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Brazos Town Center, according to the Rosenberg Police. The migrant’s aunt had been notified by the traffickers that her nephew would be returned if a sufficient ransom was paid. After negotiations between the aunt and the traffickers broke down, the aunt was struck by the fleeing smugglers’ vehicle. Her injuries are unknown.
Around midnight on Thursday, Rosenberg Police Dispatch Center received a call reporting the incident. Early Friday morning, the alleged trafficker’s vehicle was located by a Victoria County Sheriff’s deputy on US Highway 59 south of Rosenberg. After a vehicle stop, two suspects and the Honduran migrant were identified.
The smugglers and the Honduran migrant were turned over to Rosenberg Police for investigation.
Rosenberg Police learned the alleged victim purchased passage from Honduras and was ultimately sold between groups of smugglers. After crossing into the U.S., he was moved through a network of stash houses. He was later dumped in an uninhabited area in South Texas due to a perceived law enforcement threat or presence.
The young man wandered for days before coming upon a gas station where he approached a stranger for help. That individual reportedly contacted family members and smugglers who reportedly took the young man and began negotiating with his own family for a release in the Houston area.
Suspects in custody were identified as Ricardo Mejia and Amy Regalado of Falfurrias, Texas. The victim of the alleged kidnapping was identified as a 21-year-old man from Honduras. Mejia and Regalado face charges of Aggravated Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault. They were booked into the Fort Bend County Jail.
In a statement released by the Rosenberg Police Department, Assistant Chief of Police Jerret Nethery stated, “Local law enforcement agencies did an outstanding job putting a stop to a criminal episode that spanned international borders. It is shameful in this day and age, in a country that leads the free world, to have people bought and sold like animals.”
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector.