HOUSTON, Texas — Gangs operating in Falfurrias, Texas have allegedly been the recipient of “a massive amount” of inbound wire transfers. The transfers are believed to be extortion payments to local gang members who allegedly kidnap illegal immigrants who are found hiking through the ranches of Brooks County to avoid the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint. The immigrants are then held hostage until money is wired into the gang members – usually around one to three thousand dollars.
“The local gang members grab up the illegal immigrants they find on the roadways or in the ranches of Brooks County,” said Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) to Breitbart Texas in an exclusive phone interview. “They hold them hostage and then call the families of the illegal immigrants demanding a ransom payment to secure their family members release. This payment is sent by wire transfer to local businesses.
Congressman Poe, who also served Texas as an assistant district attorney and criminal district court judge, told Breitbart Texas the illegal immigrants often are let go after their family’s payments have arrived only to be picked up again by another local gang member. Poe recently went on a tour of Brooks County after learning about the problems facing this impoverished county from Breitbart Texas’ news coverage. During the tour he went to the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office and met directly with Sheriff Rey Rodriguez and Chief Deputy Benny Martinez.
Poe said he learned the local businesses had received so many of the inbound wire transfers; they became suspicious and notified local authorities. “A business in a small town of about 7,500 people like Falfurrias is certainly not used to receiving this large a number of high dollar wire transfers,” Poe explained.
Chief Deputy Benny Martinez confirmed this is an on-going problem in Brooks County, particularly with the Texas Chicano Brotherhood (TCB) gang. “Members of the TCB gang have been picking up the illegal immigrants they find coming out of the ranches,” Martinez explained. “They hold the victims and contact their families to demand a ransom payment. Often they will threaten violence in order to get the payments.”
“Our local businesses were surprised by the numbers of payments in large dollar amounts they were receiving,” he continued. “They contacted our office and there is now an on-going investigation.”
In addition to being preyed upon by the local gangs, illegal immigrants face an even greater danger in Brooks County. More than fifty sets of remains of illegal immigrants have been found on the ranches surrounding Falfurrias. “The smugglers drop the illegal immigrants off on the ranches south of the checkpoint,” Martinez said. “They must then hike for two to three days through the heat and very soft sand turning the march into a death trap for many of them.”
Brooks County must then deal with the cost of burying these illegal immigrants. Congressman Poe told Breitbart Texas he will go back to Washington D.C. and try to find a way to help Brooks County. “It is usually a state issue,” Poe explained, “to designate a county as a border county. We may need to piggy back some money to Brooks.”
Brooks County is the poorest county in Texas and the second poorest county in the United States yet they face this enormous burden of dealing with our failed border security policies even though they are not a border county. “We have to figure out how to get money to Brooks County,” Poe stated flatly.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.