Three people have been charged for allegedly conspiring to smuggle a 9-year-old boy from Mexico into Texas to sell him for $2,500, the Justice Department announced. Elida Kassandra Moreno, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen living in Mexico, told federal officials upon questioning that she was approached by a friend’s neighbor in Mexico and paid $1,700 to use her own son’s birth certificate to transport the boy to his family in San Antonio, according to the DoJ. Moreno and the child crossed the border and arrived in San Antonio—where Moreno reportedly claims she was told to collect $2,500 from 26-year-old Nery Uriostegui Dominguez in exchange for the child.
However, Moreno said the friend’s neighbor told her not to hand the boy over to Dominguez at the last minute—causing a struggle to break out between them. Police were called and they subsequently took Dominguez into custody. Moreno then said she was told to deliver the boy to the father of the friend’s neighbor, 65-year-old Victor Manuel Monsivais, according to prosecutors. Homeland Security Investigations found the boy and Monsivais on Tuesday night, arrested Monsivais, and took the boy into custody. While Monsivais claimed he was “doing a favor for his daughter who was in Mexico,” KSAT reports that HSI agents found “money service business receipts” in Monsivais’ vehicle.
Moreno faces up to 15 years in prison after being charged with bringing an illegal alien into the U.S. for profit and making a false statement to a federal agent. Dominguez and Monsivais were both charged with conspiracy to transport an illegal alien and face up to 10 years in prison.