5 Men Charged After Police Find 18 Victims Held for Sex, Labor, and Ransom in Houston Warehouse

July 2, 2019 Updated: July 2, 2019

Five people have been arrested and charged after allegedly kidnapping, smuggling, and abusing 18 people in a warehouse in northwest Houston, authorities announced last week.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo made the announcement at a June 28 press conference, in which they thanked law enforcement for their swift actions.

The 18 hostages—16 men and two women—were found at a warehouse in northwest Houston at 10427 Rockcrest Road, along with more than $10,000 in cash, 19 grams of cocaine, and four firearms, after a police investigation and rescue operation which began on June 5.

The victims were held for ransom or “enslaved, in some cases, for work and sex,” ABC13 Houston reported. The two women were allegedly sexually assaulted by three of the five arrested men, while they were held captive in the building for 25 days.

All of the victims held hostage are from various Latin American countries, according to Police Chief Art Acevedo, reported Houston Public Media.

“Our investigation determined that women were held captive and sexually assaulted for 25 days,” Acevedo said.

One of the female victims was forced to perform sexual acts with multiple suspects, detectives found, according to a press release.

The Houston Police Department was initially alerted to the situation when contacted by a family member of one of the hostages, Acevedo told reporters in a press conference Friday, June 28. They reported that their relative was being held for a ransom, and that the kidnappers would only release them if they gave them a specific amount of money.

Investigators with the Homicide Division, Human Trafficking Unit, and the Criminal Intelligence Division swiftly began work on the case in a coordinated effort, and located the victims several weeks later.

Police officers allegedly found the 16 male hostages in the facility held captive with “little to no clothing,” to prevent escape. They were allegedly forced to perform sexual acts and work, reported ABC13 Houston.

Three of the five arrested men, Jose Silvestre, 18, Jose Manuel Aviles-Diaz, 26, and Moris Gudiel Campos Gomez, 39, have been charged with aggravated sexual assault. Other allegations include kidnapping and drug charges.

The identities of the suspects are:

  • Jose Silvestre, 18, charged with aggravated sexual assault and engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping
  • Fredy Moreno-Gil, 26, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping
  • Gabriel Salazar-Bautista, 35, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping
  • Jose Manuel Aviles-Diaz, 26, charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance
  • Moris Gudiel Campos Gomez, 39, charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, engaging in organized criminal activity by kidnapping and possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance

Salazar-Bautista is reportedly a Mexican national who has been deported twice before—in 2009 and 2013—by immigration officers, according to court records from the U.S. Southern District of Texas cited by Breitbart.

It is unclear if the suspects have attorneys. As the investigation is still underway, further federal charges may be issued, authorities said.

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