Smugglers hit woman with car as she’s trying to pay ransom for nephew, Texas cops say
A woman attempting to buy back her nephew from human smugglers was assaulted after they could not agree on a price, according to Texas police.
A 21-year-old man bought his way into the United States from Honduras before being sold between groups of human smugglers, according to Rosenberg police. He was eventually dumped in south Texas and wandered for days before asking a random person at a gas station for help, police said.
That person contacted their family members — who were also allegedly smugglers — and they took the 21-year-old. The smugglers contacted the man’s family and began negotiating a price to release him in the Houston area, police said.
The aunt came to the Brazos Town Center in Rosenberg on Thursday to pay the ransom for her adult nephew, police said. The alleged smugglers, identified by police as Ricardo Mejia and Amy Regalado, demanded $6,000 from the aunt, according to KTRK.
When “they could not agree on a purchase price,” they sped off with the 21-year-old, striking his aunt with their vehicle, according to police. The aunt was not injured and, about an hour and a half later, Mejia and Regalado’s vehicle was located.
Mejia and Regalado were stopped by police and taken into custody, facing charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault.
The 21-year-old from Honduras was also in the vehicle and police told KTRK he is now safe with family. The man, who was not publicly identified, told police he entered the United States illegally and was attempting to get to New York to be with his family, according to the Victoria Advocate.
“It is shameful in this day and age, in a country that leads the free world, to have people bought and sold like animals,’ Rosenberg assistant police chief Jarret Nethery said. “The most significant aspect of this tragedy is that this young man escaped, reached out for help, and was returned to captivity. This is the definition of evil.”