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Feds: Texas-based human smuggler who threatened to sever fingers of 8-year-girl, may have fled to Mexico

April 5, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds: Texas-based human smuggler who threatened to sever fingers of 8-year-girl, may have fled to Mexico

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A human smuggler based in Texas working for a Mexican drug cartel threatened to cut off the ears and fingers of an 8-year-old to extort her parents. The suspect is currently on the lam and was found guilty in absentia.

Valley Central reported that Luis Gerardo Betancourt, 20, was initially arrested in 2015 on multiple kidnapping conspiracies and human smuggling charges.

The Texas resident was released on bond until his scheduled trial date last week. Officials say  Betancourt went missing on the day of his trial.

However, officials say accused human smuggler went missing on the day of his trial.

Luis Gerardo Betancourt

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that the case continued in absentia. After he had been found guilty, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane scheduled Betancourt’s sentencing for June where he faces possible life behind bars if he is apprehended.

The case was launched in November 2015, when a Mexican woman living in Florida illegally planned for her 8-year-old daughter to be smuggled into Texas.

The woman started receiving calls soon after demanding over $18,000 or they would murder the young girl. The group even threatened to dismember body parts to put pressure on the mother.

The phone number was traced to Betancourt and was questioned by FBI agents. He continued to deny his role in the case. The criminal indictment stated that he lied to investigators during the probe. A subsequent indictment also names other individuals as co-conspirators.

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