Girl Rescued From Human Smugglers: Cops

By David Chang
|  Friday, Jul 1, 2011  |  Updated 5:01 PM EDT
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Girl Rescued From Human Smugglers: Cops

Trenton Police Department

(L) John Doe/Eddie Garcia, (R) Jose Luis-Hernandez

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Two men are in custody after allegedly kidnapping a Guatemalan girl and extorting the girl’s mother.

Investigators say that on June 28, a woman contacted the Trenton Police and reported that her 15-year-old daughter had been kidnapped.

The woman had paid to have her daughter brought to the U.S. from Guatemala. Once the girl arrived in Texas, police say that two men kidnapped her. They then allegedly demanded large sums of money over several days from the girl’s mother in exchange for the girl’s safe transport to Trenton.

The mother told police that she made initial payments to the alleged kidnappers but her daughter was never delivered. The mother also told police that her daughter was hungry and frightened.

On June 29, two Trenton Police Detectives interviewed the mother. During the interview, authorities say that the alleged kidnappers contacted her. Police say that the suspects made arrangements for a final extortion payment for her kidnapped daughter at a truck stop near the N.J. turnpike entrance in Bordentown.

The detectives contacted Special Agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs (ICE) who joined the investigation.

The investigators then followed the woman as she made her way to the drop-off point. Once she arrived, police say the two alleged kidnappers met her. Investigators say that she then made the final extortion payment and was reunited with her daughter. The ICE Agents and the Trenton Police then moved in and took the two alleged kidnappers into custody.

Investigators say that the first suspect identified himself as Eddie Garcia, 25. According to police, Garcia couldn’t provide a valid form of ID or a valid address. Authorities could not confirm his identity and he was docketed as a John Doe. Garcia is charged with theft by extortion.

Police say that the second suspect identified himself as Jose A. Luis-Hernandez, 27. Investigators identified Luis-Hernandez as a Honduran national. He was docketed for an extortion charge and was issued a detainer by the ICE agents.

Investigators also found seven illegal immigrants inside the vehicle of the two suspects. Authorities believe that they were smuggled into the U.S. and transported to various drop-off points.

Homeland Security took the illegal immigrants into custody for processing.

Authorities say that the investigation is ongoing.

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