A man who says he's from Huntsville will likely be sent back to Mexico after a crash that revealed he was driving Mexican nationals to different states for work and forcing them to pay him, police say.
Kilgore, Texas assistant Police Chief Johnathan Gage told 1819 News the man was taken into custody Saturday and is now on hold by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The two-vehicle crash happened just before midnight on Interstate 20 in Kilgore. The driver of a 2015 Ford Expedition was identified as 30-year-old Adan Torres-Ramirez, who lives in Huntsville. Also inside the SUV were six Mexican nationals who told police they did not know Torres-Ramirez.
"We learned that they had been setting up different locations for them to work and charging them for driving them around, for food and for lodging," Gage said. "They were taking part of their wages for that."
Gage said Torres-Ramirez was charged with human smuggling, but he said there is evidence of human trafficking.
"This is not something that we typically see," he explained. "It's almost slavery. It's a form of human trafficking, but we charged them with smuggling because, based on our state law, that was the most appropriate charge. The smuggling of persons is them taking people that were here illegally in our country and driving them around but taking a good size portion of their wages. So, they were basically brokering them out."
The Kilgore Police Department provided food and lodging for the six Mexican nationals and contacted the federal government to get them the necessary resources. As for Torres-Ramirez, he is expected to eventually be deported.
"I believe he will be going back to wherever it is that he came from after his legal troubles are settled," Gage added.
Torres-Ramirez is currently being held in the Gregg County Jail on bonds totaling $600,000.
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