Houston police have arrested five suspects charged in a human smuggling and kidnapping investigation involving 18 victims.
During a news conference on Friday, HPD Chief Art Acevedo said the case was a coordinated investigation between vice, homicide and narcotics divisions
The suspects are identified as Jose Silvestre Chavarrieta-Gusman, 18, Fredy Moreno-Gil, 26, Gabriel Salazar-Bautista, 35, Jose Manuel Aviles-Diaz, 26, and Moris Gudiel Campos-Gomez , 39.
All are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping. Additional charges were filed on Campos-Gomez, Aviles-Diaz and Chavarrieta-Gusman, according to HPD.
Investigators say that on June 5, a family contacted HPD to report that a relative was being held in Houston for ransom. The kidnappers told the family they would not release the victim without a specific amount of money.
Within a very short period of time, a task force was formed, and detectives located the suspects and began a rescue operation and investigation, according to HPD.
Detectives reportedly located the stash house at 10400 block of Rockcrest Road, as well as the various locations of the suspects involved, and the location of multiple victims also being held for ransom.
Detectives also discovered that one female victim of the kidnappers was being forced to perform sexual acts with multiple suspects, according to detectives.
Of the five suspects arrested, three are charged with sexual assault. Additional federal charges are possible as the investigation continues.
The investigation determined 18 victims – 16 males and two females – were being held for ransom. Detectives recovered four guns, more than $10,000 and 19 grams of cocaine