Human smugglers hit woman with SUV as she tried to pay ransom for nephew, Rosenberg police say

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Monday, July 19, 2021
Human smugglers hit woman with SUV as she tried to pay ransom
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This is what authorities said happened between the accused smugglers and the 21-year-old man they held for ransom.

ROSENBERG, Texas (KTRK) -- Human smugglers hit a woman with their car while she tried to pay a ransom to release her 21-year-old nephew, Rosenberg police say.

It happened shortly before 11:30 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of Brazos Town Center, where the woman was attempting to get her nephew.

The woman says the accused smugglers demanded $6,000 to release the man.

When she couldn't come up with the money, the smugglers took off south on US-59 toward Victoria with the young man and hit the woman with their Cadillac Escalade in the process.

She was not injured.

A little more than an hour later, the Victoria County Sheriff's Office stopped an SUV on US-59 after receiving an alert from Rosenberg police.

Inside were the accused human smugglers, identified as Ricardo Mejia and Amy Regalado, and the other woman's 21-year-old nephew.

According to police, the 21-year-old is from Honduras and paid to come to the U.S. through Mexico, but was ultimately sold between groups of smugglers and moved between a network of stash houses once across the border.

"He wandered around for up to three days where he eventually happened upon a gas station. He approached a person and asked for help. That person, in turn, turned him over to a different group of smugglers who then contacted his family and demanded money for his release," said Rosenberg Asst. Chief Jarret Nethery.

Mejia and Regalado were taken into Rosenberg police custody and have been charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Police say they believe the nephew is now safe with family.

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