Alleged Texas Alien Smuggler Indicted by White Plains Federal Grand Jury on Hostage Taking and Alien Smuggling Charges
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the indictment of Juvencio Martinez-Martinez on hostage taking and alien smuggling charges. Martinez-Martinez was previously arrested in the Southern District of Texas and ordered removed to White Plains, New York.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “As alleged, Juvencio Martinez-Martinez preyed on and held hostage an individual desperate to enter the United States from Mexico to join her family, threatening dire consequences if ransom was not paid. The woman he smuggled and held is safe, and Martinez-Martinez is now in federal custody facing federal charges.”
Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos stated, “As alleged, Martinez-Martinez valued currency over human life when he abducted the victim who was attempting to enter the United States from Mexico. While he may have viewed this as an opportunity to make easy money, Martinez-Martinez did not anticipate the swift, coordinated law enforcement response committed to seeing the victim safely rescued. The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who seek to turn a profit by victimizing the innocent.”
According to allegations made in the indictment and other publicly filed documents:
Martinez-Martinez and others held an individual hostage in Weslaco, Texas, after they smuggled her across the border. While waiting for the victim’s mother, who lives in Fallsburg, Sullivan County, New York, to send them money in order to secure her release, they threatened to continue to hold the victim hostage and harm her. During one conversation with the victim’s mother, the hostage takers threatened to cut the victim into pieces and send the pieces to the victim’s mother in Fallsburg, New York. Martinez-Martinez was apprehended at a business in Weslaco, Texas, shortly after he obtained an additional $1,500 from the victim’s mother. Law enforcement officers then discovered additional individuals at a building Martinez-Martinez controlled.
Martinez-Martinez, 20, of Weslaco, Texas, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI, Fallsburg (New York) Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and United States Customs and Border Protection.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. Collins, Jr. is in charge of the prosecution.
The allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.