ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The National Trafficking Hotline got a tip from a female victim who said she was kidnapped from Mexico and brought to Albuquerque. After that, the Albuquerque Police Department requested assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.
Authorities said they found 60 people, including children under the age of 10, being held captive at a trailer home at the East Gardens mobile community near Wyoming and Zuni road.
“Unfortunately, it’s more common than you think, especially for victims of labor trafficking,” said Attorney Victoria Lucero, who specializes in trafficking cases.
According to the federal criminal complaint, agents with the Department of Homeland Security were able to track the cell phone where the call came from to the mobile home.
Court records showed, on Monday, law enforcement witnessed about nine people leaving the mobile home in a white-colored Toyota Sequoia with California plates.
The SUV was pulled over near I-40 and Wyoming where they found all people inside to be undocumented. When agents entered the trailer, they said they found 60 more undocumented people, huddled together and struggling to stay warm.
“We do actually see a lot of cases with trafficking victims and a number of trafficking cases that I have had the person isn’t even aware that they qualify for a human trafficking visa because it’s very common that you see people are trafficked for labor,” added Lucero.
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According to one of the victims, six men were responsible for kidnapping, sexually assaulting, beating, and forcing them to do labor. Authorities arrested and charged one person, Joaquin-Miguel Rolando. He is charged with transporting illegal immigrants and hostage-taking. Rolando made his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday morning and is being held until a detention hearing on Friday.
The victims said they were only given one meal per day. If they did not do what they were told, they said their captors threatened to cut off their heads.