Project Veritas interviewed an 18-year-old who illegally crossed the border and found himself held hostage in a cartel stash house in San Antonio.
Eduin told his painful story alongside his Aunt Kenia who paid ransom money to the criminal cartel yet they continued to hold him hostage and extort her.
“They told me that they were part of a cartel and they moved people. That I had to pay the amount they asked for and if I or my family didn’t pay, I would have a bad time.”
“They only gave us a bottle of water and a piece of bread for the entire day.”
“They [cartel] were taking people out of the room one by one and we didn’t know where they were taking them because we were locked in and that was the moment I started to worry.”
Eduin also confirmed that a graphic video showing a man brutally beaten features his captors.
According to retired Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent, Harry Jimenez, Homeland Security “have been basically told ‘do not conduct any proactive investigations’…so we basically don’t know how many incidents of extortion are happening.”
[SAN ANTONIO – Dec. 20, 2022] Project Veritas released new video showing a harrowing interview with an 18-year-old named Eduin who just recently escaped from a cartel stash house after being held hostage for ransom money. His Aunt Kenia, who paid the ransom money and never received her nephew until his desperate escape, joined her nephew for the interview, each concealing their identity to avoid retaliation for sharing their story.
A cartel stash house is a location where a criminal cartel uses to hold what they’re smuggling; usually weapons, drugs and, sadly, humans.
Eduin arrived at a stash house in San Antonio after a long journey to the U.S. which included jumping from a train and avoiding checkpoints. He said a WhatsApp message was going around which told border crossers to look for men in a vehicle at a specific location after going through eagle pass. “They only told us that they would take us to a secure location and that nothing bad would happen,” Eduin said.
But Eduin soon realized that wasn’t the case. “They [cartel] were taking people out of the room one by one and we didn’t know where they were taking them because we were locked in a room that we couldn't get out and that was the moment I started to worry,” explained Eduin. “They told me that they were part of a cartel and they moved people. That I had to pay the amount they asked for and if I or my family didn’t pay, I would have a bad time.”
These cartel-operated stash houses have become so prevalent in Texas that Governor Greg Abbott offers $5,000 to anyone who aids in the identification of a stash house.
Eduin’s Aunt, Kenia, explained the moment she felt defeated telling Eduin there was nothing else she could do for him:
I returned the phone call to the number they called from, and they told me that If I didn't pay the money, that I should forget about ever seeing my family again. Eduin called me crying asking me to help him. To pay the money. The only words I told him that day was that God would help him and that I didn’t have any more money and the money I did have was already sent.
According to retired Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent, Harry Jimenez, these kinds of endless extortions are par the course for many migrants who arrive with debt to coyotes who view them as “cattle” and that human traffickers operate with even less honor than other traffickers.
Luckily for Eduin, he was able to escape.
I noticed the fence was slightly open. I decided at that moment to run….I didn’t want to walk or run on the street where they could find me. So I hid in that barbecue pit. I didn’t know what to think in that moment, I was very scared….I turned on my phone and called my aunt and told her I escaped and I need her help.
Project Veritas obtained the San Antonio Police report from the day police interacted with Eduin after his escape in addition to a video of a man being brutally beaten in a house Eduin says looks similar to the room he was held in. Eduin also confirmed one of the men seen in the video with a long barrel rifle is one of his captors.
Former Special Agent Jimenez says Homeland Security “have been basically told ‘do not conduct any proactive investigations’…so we basically don’t know how many incidents of extortion are happening.”
A previous report by Project Veritas about how federal tax dollars are used to put minors in the hands of traffickers attracted the attention of the Texas Attorney General’s office and members of the U.S. Senate.
About Project Veritas
Project Veritas is a non-profit investigative news organization conducting undercover reporting. Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society. Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.