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Human smuggler sentenced to 20-Years for raping, kidnapping immigrants in South Texas

February 20, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Human smuggler sentenced to 20-Years for raping, kidnapping immigrants in South Texas

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A human smuggler will be spending 20-years behind bars after kidnapping a group of illegal immigrants for ransom and raping at least one woman that he had in his residence in Texas.

Earlier this week, 24-year-old Reynaldo Lerma Pichardo appeared before U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera who issued a 20-year-prison sentence on hostage taking and human smuggling charges.

Lerma Pichardo pleaded guilty in October to close to a dozen counts of kidnapping and human trafficking charges. Lerma is believed to have headed a human smuggling business along with Leticia Lerma Pichardo, Juan Carlos Meza Hinojosa and Cynthia Yadira Deantes where the suspects used their residences as stash houses for the illegals.

The case was launched in November 2015 when Brownsville Police received a phone call about a group of illegals that were being held for ransom by human traffickers at an apartment complex, NBC Fort Worth reported

When responding to the call, police discovered Lerma Pichardo and his group holding nine illegal immigrants from Mexico hostage. The illegals were being held against their will until their family members could pay money.

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations discovered that Lerma Pichardo had sexually assaulted one of the women that he was holding hostage in his apartment.

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