Federal authorities filed two criminal complaints Wednesday in Del Rio, charging three individuals for their roles in a human trafficking scheme involving a boy, according to federal prosecutors.
Elida Kassandra Moreno, a 26-year-old American citizen residing in Piedras Negras, Mexico, is charged by complaint with bringing an illegal alien into the U.S. for profit and false statement to a federal agent, according to a joint release by the offices of U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden.
Moreno, Victor Manuel Monsivais, 65, of San Antonio, and Nery Uriostegui Dominguez, a 26-year-old resident of Mexico, are charged in a separate complaint with conspiracy to transport an illegal alien.
According to the complaints, Zavala County Sheriff’s deputies, acting on law enforcement information they received and a request for assistance, executed a traffic stop Tuesday in Batesville, Texas, on a vehicle occupied by Moreno.
Moreno was taken to the Homeland Security Investigations office in Eagle Pass for questioning. While being questioned, Moreno told investigators she was approached by a friend’s neighbor in Piedras Negras to transport a boy to his family in San Antonio while using her own son’s birth certificate in exchange for $1,700.
Moreno and the child crossed into the U.S. through Eagle Pass, rented a hotel room in Eagle Pass, then took a shuttle van the next day to San Antonio.
While in San Antonio, Moreno claims the friend’s neighbor told her to meet Uriostegui at Santa Rosa Park, collect $2,500 from him and deliver the child. Subsequently, Moreno said her friend’s neighbor told her not to hand over the child and a struggle between Moreno and Uriostegui ensued.
San Antonio police officers arrived at the scene and took Uriostegui into custody. Moreno subsequently, at her friend’s neighbor’s bidding, met her father, Monsivais, at a truck stop on I-35 South in San Antonio, and delivered the child to him.
The complaint states Tuesday night, Esquivel, under HSI supervision, contacted Monsivais and offered to pick up the child from him. They mutually decided to meet at a location near Military Drive and Goliad in San Antonio. When Monsivais arrived, HSI agents arrested him and took custody of the child.
Upon conviction, the defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charge. Moreno also faces up to 10 years in federal prison for bringing an illegal alien into the U.S. for profit and up to five years in federal prison for making a false statement to a federal official upon conviction.
The investigation is being conducted by HSI together with the San Antonio Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Banister is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
It is important to note that a complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.