AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A Texas woman has been accused of holding 17 undocumented immigrants — including two minors — hostage in her home.
Manuela Magdalena Jimon Castro, 30, of Friona, was charged in federal court with “alien harboring,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
Castro, along with a family member, allegedly partnered with a smuggling operation to hold “undocumented individuals hostage at their home,” according to the attorney’s office.
Castro and the family member allegedly threatened to withhold food and water and refused to allow the immigrants to leave until they paid about $12,000 or “worked off” the debt, according to the attorney’s office.
Officials said they were tipped off after authorities in California received a tip from a woman who said her sister was being held for ransom in Texas. Other law enforcement officials then spoke with another person who claimed they were previously detained in the home.
If convicted, Castro faces up to five years in federal prison.