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Two Children Rescued In Ransom Attempt

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  • Two Children Rescued In Ransom Attempt

    2 children rescued in ransom attempt

    2 suspects held in smuggling case

    By Onell R. Soto
    STAFF WRITER

    August 5, 2008

    After U.S. Border Patrol agents twice stopped their efforts to enter the country illegally south of Imperial Beach, a Mexican couple decided to just go back home.

    But their young children were already across the border, and the smugglers who had taken them there were asking for $7,000 to get them back.
    When the parents said they couldn't come up with the money, a smuggler told them “there were others that would,” according to federal agents who rescued the girls late Thursday.

    Agents posed as relatives of the children, a 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy, arranged a drop-off at a Chula Vista hotel, then arrested two sisters involved in the smuggling, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

    The case, treated as a kidnapping, shows the dangers of working with human smugglers, especially when families are separated in attempts to enter the country, said Dane Bowen, a supervisor with the agency.

    “These smuggling organizations have only one thing in mind, that is to earn profit in total disregard for their clients,” Bowen said.

    The children have been reunited with their parents, Bowen said.

    The two women arrested Thursday night talked to agents about the smuggling organization, according to a criminal complaint filed in San Diego federal court Friday charging them with transporting illegal aliens.

    They were arraigned yesterday.

    The investigation continues, Bowen said. The court file describes the suspects' mother as playing a central role in the smuggling.

    The Mexican couple told agents they agreed to pay Tijuana smugglers $2,500 per adult and $1,600 per child to get to the United States. They said they expected the entire family would be brought through the San Ysidro border crossing.

    But smugglers separated them, having the adults cross by foot in the hills, while the children were brought across with fraudulent birth certificates, an ICE agent wrote in the court filing.

    According to the children's mother, a smuggler told her it would cost $7,000 – citing smuggling fees and child care costs – to get the children back after the couple decided not to cross.

    That was when the 20-year-old mother and her 22-year-old husband turned to authorities.

    One of the women arrested Thursday night said she was to be paid $200 for taking the children to the agent, who posed as an aunt, and collecting a reduced ransom of $6,200, the agent wrote.

    The other said her mother asked her earlier in the week to take care of the children after the parents failed to make it across the border.

    It is not uncommon for families to be split up to cross the border, with smugglers taking the adults through the hills or over the border fence and transporting children in cars or on foot with fake documents.

    “We have definitely seen a change in the last few years,” said Lilia Velasquez, an immigration lawyer in San Diego who has been appointed by judges to represent children in such cases. She is not involved in this case.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

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  • #2
    Let's see if I'm translating this correctly.

    Mom and Dad: "We want to enter the USA illegally and need help getting our children across. Can you help us?"

    Smugglers: "Sure. We'll take them by car while you go on foot.

    M & D: "Ok. Here are my small, helpless children."

    Smuggler: "Thanks. We'll take good care of them and see you on the other side."

    A few (hours? days?) later:

    M & D: "We've changed our mind. Can you give us our children back, please?"

    Smugglers: "Sure. Give us $7,000."
    http://hoppeshomestead.blogspot.com/

    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. – Thomas Jefferson

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mrs. Hoppes View Post
      Let's see if I'm translating this correctly.

      Mom and Dad: "We want to enter the USA illegally and need help getting our children across. Can you help us?"

      Smugglers: "Sure. We'll take them by car while you go on foot.

      M & D: "Ok. Here are my small, helpless children."

      Smuggler: "Thanks. We'll take good care of them and see you on the other side."

      A few (hours? days?) later:

      M & D: "We've changed our mind. Can you give us our children back, please?"

      Smugglers: "Sure. Give us $7,000."

      A very plausible and normal scenario. These types of incidents occur regularly along our Southern borders. Sadly, most don't end up happy because of our local LEOs getting involved. In most instances, the family notifys the Mexican authorities, and since they don't get paid, they do nothing.
      Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

      [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

      Comment

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