MCALLEN, Texas — Eduardo Javier Gomez, 32, and Margarita Alvarez, 40, a former couple from Edinburg, pleaded responsible in federal courtroom to benefiting from pressured labor following an investigation by Homeland Safety Investigations (HSI).
In response to courtroom paperwork, from June 24, 2021, till July 8, 2021, Gomez and Alvarez benefited from their sufferer’s free labor which allowed the couple to carry gainful employment. Gomez additionally earned cash from a fireworks stand for which the sufferer offered free labor.
HSI particular brokers found that the sufferer was illegally smuggled to the Rio Grande Valley and that Gomez held her towards her will. Gomez requested that the sufferer’s members of the family pay him extra cash to maneuver her farther north. The sufferer’s household was unable to pay, so Gomez and Alvarez took her telephone and compelled her to work as a nanny and housekeeper within the dwelling the couple shared.
Gomez additionally pressured the sufferer to work in fireworks stand he managed. The sufferer was by no means paid.
Authorities situated and rescued the sufferer two days after studying of her existence.
“Labor traffickers care about just one factor — cash,” stated U.S. Lawyer Alamdar S. Hamdani. “These subjected to home servitude are robbed of their dignity and freedom. Fortunately, this sufferer was rescued rapidly because of the efforts of legislation enforcement. Now, this couple can pay the worth for his or her despicable crimes and we will start to deliver some closure to the sufferer.”
“All staff and staff ought to really feel safe in reporting illegal labor practices resembling substandard wages, unsafe working circumstances and different types of employee exploitation,” stated HSI Harlingen performing Deputy Particular Agent in Cost Mark Lippa. “By specializing in exploitative employers, HSI is defending the American labor market, the circumstances of our nation’s workplaces and the dignity of the person staff.”
U.S. District Choose Ricardo H. Hinojosa set sentencing for Might 9. At the moment, the previous couple faces as much as 20 years in federal jail. Gomez will stay in custody pending sentencing. Alvarez was permitted to stay free on bond.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eliza Carmen Rodriguez, Sherri Zack and Kim Leo of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety (DHS), answerable for investigating transnational crime and threats, particularly these felony organizations that exploit the worldwide infrastructure by which worldwide commerce, journey, and finance transfer. HSI’s workforce of greater than 8,700 staff consists of greater than 6,000 particular brokers assigned to 237 cities all through the USA, and 93 abroad places in 56 international locations. HSI’s worldwide presence represents DHS’s largest investigative legislation enforcement presence overseas and one of many largest worldwide footprints in U.S. legislation enforcement.