Two men who kidnapped illegal aliens being escorted by coyotes and kept them in Houston houses while they sent ransom demands back to Mexico have been send to prison for at least 20 years apiece.
Alejandro Pantoja-Rosales, 29, and Juan Romero-Trejo, 36, both of Houston and both undocumented aliens, were sentenced today in federal court. Pantoja-Rosales received almost 22 years in prison, and Romero-Trejo 20.
Prosecutors say the two were part of a scheme that hijacked a pickup truck holding 13 aliens near El Campo and taking the aliens to a house in the 5400 block of Heron Drive. Ransom notes were then sent to relatives.
Two of the aliens escaped, and neighbors notified police.
"While talking with officers, the two aliens noticed Pantoja-Rosales and [fellow defendant Eduardo] Lopez-Vargas drive-by, apparently attempting to recapture them," the U.S. Attorney's office said. HPD arrested the pair, and eventually another stash house in the 4000 block of Hollister was discovered and Romero-Trejo was arrested.
Two of the female hostages said they had been sexually asaulted by Pantoja-Rosales and Romero-Trejo.