Five men were arrested in relation to the kidnapping, smuggling, and abuse of 18 people in a warehouse in Northwest Houston, according to authorities.
At a June 28 press conference, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo thanked law enforcement for their swift action.
The victims, 16 men and 2 women, were held for ransom or “enslaved, in some cases, for work and sex,” ABC13 Houston reported. The two women were in confinement for 25 days and abused by at least three of the five kidnappers.
The investigation started on June 5, when a relative of one of the hostages alerted the police and said the kidnappers were demanding a ransom. Investigators with the Homicide Division, Human Trafficking Unit, and the Criminal Intelligence Division began working on the case.
The hostages were found at a warehouse in Northwest Houston at 10427 Rockcrest Road, along with about $10,000 in cash, drugs, and four firearms.
Acevedo: “More than likely they were smuggled thru and brought to a safe house.” On June 5, a family contacted HPD to report their relative was held hostage for ransom money. #abc13
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) June 28, 2019
Some of the hostages were barely dressed. Three men have been charged with sexual assault. Other allegations include kidnapping and drug charges.
The identities of the suspects are:
- Jose Silvestre, 18, charged with aggravated sexual assault and engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping
- Fredy Moreno-Gil, 26, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping
- Gabriel Salazar-Bautista, 35, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping
- Jose Manuel Aviles-Diaz, 26, charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance
- Moris Gudiel Campos Gomez, 39, charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance
7-Month-Old Boy Kidnapped, Held for Ransom, Murdered
A 7-month-old boy was kidnapped and murdered, according to a police announcement on March 13 from a local security bureau in Yunnan Province, China.
Two suspects in connection to the case have been arrested. The announcement said that an individual, whose surname is Tai, reported to the police that the boy had been abducted on March 11. No further details were given about the informant.
The police found the body of the infant and said an investigation is on-going. Lawyers hired by the parents of the boy said that he was strangled to death. No further information was provided.
Many netizens have speculated that there were unpaid debts involved between the abductors and the parents of the child, or that there had been personal grudges. These claims were later denied.
The abduction was carried out for financial reasons, as the abductor had referred the father to a famous ransom case, according to the official provincial website Yunnan.cn.
The names of the infant and his parents were not given in the report.
Epoch Times reporter Daniel Holl contributed to this report.