AP NEWS

Brothers plead guilty in Del Rio in immigrant sex-trafficking case

May 9, 2019

A pair of brothers have pleaded guilty to charges that they smuggled an underage Honduran teen over the Texas border to make her a bride for one of them.

Jimmy Marin Reyes Almendarez, who is originally from Honduras but lived in South Carolina, pleaded guilty last week in Del Rio to a charge of conspiracy to transport a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. His brother, Siomar Reyes Almendarez, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to transport an undocumented immigrant.

The pair admitted they agreed to bring the 17-year-old girl from Honduras, whom Jimmy Reyes met on social media, illegally into the United States in October 2017 by falsely claiming she was Siomar Reyes’ daughter. Siomar and the teen were caught at the border near Eagle Pass with a group of migrants and Siomar claimed he was her father.

The scheme unraveled after an investigation by the Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agents interviewed Siomar Reyes at an immigration jail in Pearsall, and also were able to learn the teen’s true name. Siomar Reyes admitted the girl was not his daughter but said she was Jimmy Reyes’ “girlfriend.”

During her interview, the girl “revealed that she had yet to meet (Jimmy Reyes) in person, and had only met the defendant via the Internet through Facebook when she was 14 years old,” Jimmy Reyes’ plea deal states.

The girl also said she had communicated with Jimmy Reyes via WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, and added that he requested she send him nude selfies. She also said Jimmy Reyes made arrangements to smuggle her to the United States.

After getting a search warrant for Jimmy Reyes’ Facebook account, agents found he discussed the smuggling venture with the teen, and there were sexually explicit messages between him and the girl, beginning when she was 14.

“The account also contains messages between (the girl) and defendant detailing the defendant’s intention to have a romantic relationship with (the teen) and the defendant’s intentions to marry and have children with the girl,” Jimmy Reyes’ plea deal states.

Under questioning, Jimmy Reyes admitted he paid $7,000 to smuggle his brother and the teen, and that if they crossed successfully, he was going to pick them up in San Antonio or make other arrangements to get them to South Carolina, the plea deal said.

Guillermo Contreras covers federal courts in San Antonio and international legal issues. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | gcontreras@express-news.net | Twitter: @gmaninfedland