Honduran boy smuggled into the country held hostage - FOX 35 News Orlando

Honduran boy smuggled into the country held hostage

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A pair of kidnapping suspects are in jail tonight, accused of holding a young boy hostage for ransom.

Federal agents say the boy who is from Honduras was supposed to be dropped off on the east coast after entering the United States.

Instead, the two suspects held the boy captive and demanded more money from his family.

It's unclear how long the boy was held captive, though federal agents say the boy had been making payments to smugglers at each stop. From Honduras to Phoenix but when he got here, smugglers demanded even more money.

Federal Agents say a Phoenix apartment doubled as a drop house where illegal immigrant smugglers held a 13-year-old Honduran boy hostage. The kidnapping suspects are 27-year-old Frances Salas and 31-year-old Mexican national Jesus Millan-Rodriguez.

"I always just seen her and him and three little kids, but always did see a lot of traffic coming in and out," said Pat Starkweather.

ICE officials say the suspects had already been paid for smuggling the boy into the country but then tried to extort more money from the boy's family in Florida. That's when the boys mother fearing for his safety went to Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents in Florida.

Within ten hours, the agency found the boy in the north Phoenix apartment near Bethany Home & I-17.

According to ICE, the agents came to the door of the apartment and knocked. They say they obtained consent to search the apartment and found the boy inside, they say he was unharmed.

"My grandson come home and say there was a bunch of people over there, and they had some kid, and I saw the DEA upstairs and downstairs, they kept going up and down," said Starkweather.

The 13-year-old boy found, was among the thousands of Central American unaccompanied minors making the perilous journey north. Immigration officials are warning families of the dangers.

"These smuggling networks are first and foremost business organizations and they are very ruthless criminal networks. They view people in their custody, even children as a business commodity and exploit that as much as possible," said Amber Cargile.
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