by BRAD ROLLINS
Local and federal law enforcement detained 26 people they say were illegal immigrants held against their will at a San Marcos area trailer house. Four people were arrested in the raid and face kidnapping charges.
The captives, now in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, include eight women and 18 men, four of whom were picked up near Staples in Guadalupe County near what Police Chief Howard E. Williams described as another smuggling safe house.
Officials said they found the captives in T-shirts and underwear in an sweltering trailer home on Iris Street off Post Road, just outside the city limits. The immigrants hailed from Latin American countries including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.
The four suspects are identified as Rosalinda Alvarez Trevino, 32, of Staples; Maria Garcia Luz, 25, of Rio Grande City; Julio Salgado-Ortega, 26, of San Marcos; and Alejandro Guzman Ortega, 29, of San Marcos. A fifth suspect fled the scene when officers arrived and was not captured.
The investigation started with a reported robbery on Memorial Day at the CVS pharmacy in which a man told police he tried to pay smugglers’ ransom for a captive family member and was robbed. The Mercury reported the incident at the time with police officials then saying the incident was part of a “long story.”
The raid included County Sheriff’s Office, San Marcos Police Department, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and the US Marshall’s Service officers.
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