Men accused of harboring, sexually abusing immigrants
June 21st 2012 · 8 Comments
Pharr police and the U.S. Border Patrol responded Sunday evening to Executive Inn, 2418 S. Cage Blvd., where an anonymous caller claimed people had been kept against their will.
Border Patrol agents interviewed three people found at the motel who said nine females had been held against their will and had been sexually assaulted by their smugglers at a house at the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 493 and Highway 107 in La Blanca, the complaint states.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents went to the house and met Guillermo Ortiz Castillo, 39, who was later identified by the immigrants as El Gordo, the fat one, the lead smuggler who they said improperly touched and sexually abused females under his watch, the complaint states.
Agents found Cesar Castro Barreiro, 22, who is accused of assisting Ortiz in the smuggling ring.
A Peruvian man told ICE agents he entered the U.S. illegally and was taken to an unidentified motel for two days. The man said Ortiz took him to an old house without electricity or a bathroom, where nine woman and 26 men also stayed. He stayed there about a week before Ortiz left him in a brushy area, the complaint states.
A Salvadoran woman told agents she saw Ortiz — whom she referred to as El Gordo — sexually assault a female, lifting her blouse and grabbing her breast in front of others, the complaint states. She claimed Ortiz threatened them to not look out the windows at the house or try to escape.
A Honduran man told agents Castro smuggled his group of immigrants across the Rio Grande before they went to an abandoned warehouse, the complaint states. Castro then allegedly took the immigrants to an unknown brushy area, where they stayed for eight days. The Honduran told agents he saw Ortiz grab a woman’s breasts and that he believed she was being mistreated.
ICE agents arrested Ortiz and Castro on Monday. The men’s immigrant harboring case was filed in federal court in McAllen on Wednesday. Both men, who are also illegal immigrants, remain in federal custody and no court date had been set in the case late Wednesday afternoon.
A version of this column originally appeared in www.themonitor.com.
Tags: 26 Men, Anonymous Caller, Barreiro, Blouse, Border Patrol, Border Patrol Agents, Cesar Castro, Complaint States, control, Criminal Complaint, Electricity, Executive Inn, Females, Guillermo Ortiz, Illegal Immigrants, Immigrants, Immigration And Customs Enforcement, Intersection, Men, motel, motel rooms, Pharr, Rio Grande, Smuggler, Smugglers, Sunday Evening, U.S. Border Patrol
By Jared Taylor