Houston, August 1, 2023 – An ongoing investigation into a kidnapping and human smuggling incident in Texas has led to the indictment of eight individuals, with two suspects still at large, according to a statement released today.
The FBI, in conjunction with local law enforcement, has been investigating a series of events that took place from March 18th to 23rd. The incidents began when six migrants traveling in a truck from Eagle Pass, Texas to Houston were shot at by several vehicles. Multiple victims were injured, with one left in critical condition. Those unharmed were allegedly held hostage at two Houston hotels and subjected to physical abuse.
Videos of the beatings were sent back to the victim’s families, and significant ransoms were paid for the release of two hostages. The FBI had to intervene to free the third hostage. In the process, one of the hostage-takers was killed.
As of May this year, five individuals were charged with kidnapping, three of whom are currently in custody. Last week, an additional three individuals were charged with human smuggling. The grand jury has charged all eight individuals in connection to the crimes.
Special Agent Jim Smith elaborated on the ongoing efforts to locate the remaining suspects. “Today, we are announcing a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Santiago Hernandez Jr. and Lori Lynn Flowers. Hernandez and Flowers both face federal charges for aiding and abetting kidnapping. They may be in the Eagle Pass, Texas, or Cardross Negros Mexico area.”
Members of the public with information regarding the whereabouts of the suspects are urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI. As these investigations continue, law enforcement agencies have warned of the dangers of human smuggling, stressing it is far from a victimless crime and that the perpetrators are solely driven by profit.