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|8/26: Coyotes dump couple in desert; strip man, rape woman
Released 26 August 2009  By Stacia Glenn
Coyotes dump couple in desert; strip man, rape woman
By Stacia Glenn
Created: 08/21/2009 06:13:35 PM PDT
The couple couldn't come up with more money so the coyotes held them hostage for a month before dumping him naked in the desert and driving her further to rape her and leave her stranded.
The man stumbled in the cover of night to a Twentynine Palms home and knocked on the door at 3 a.m. Wednesday, pleading for police assistance.
Sheriff's deputies who responded found the man's girlfriend about 20 miles away, assaulted but alive.
The men authorities say are responsible were arrested in separate cities this week and are being held on a variety of charges related to a smuggling ring that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been investigating since mid-January.
"It is an uncanny coincidence," said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice, who said federal agents were already planning to serve search warrants on the house where the Guatemalan couple was held since July 23.
Authorities did not know the victims' ages, but said they paid coyotes $5,000 each to smuggle them into the United States from Mexico.
They reportedly crossed the border near Phoenix and were taken to a house in Lancaster - the same house where ICE earlier this year found two men who had been smuggled into the country starved and beaten.
After arriving, the coyotes allegedly demanded another couple hundred dollars from the couple.
"They actually tried to have a family member in the U.S. negotiate it but they weren't able to raise the money," said Lt. Rick Ells.
The couple was driven into the desert near Amboy early Wednesday, where the man was dumped naked and the woman was assaulted.
On Friday, deputies went to a Lancaster home and arrested 27-year-old Raul Enrique Ibarra, whom they say raped the woman inside the vehicle. He is being held at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino on suspicion of kidnapping and rape. ICE has also placed a no-bail immigration hold on him.
While serving search warrants Thursday, ICE agents arrested 28-year-old Pedro "Chino" Marcos at a Los Angeles apartment.
Marcos, who already had an outstanding warrant for smuggling undocumented immigrants, is believed to have driven the victims out to the desert.
Warrants were also served at the Lancaster home and a house in San Bernardino at 1877 Magnolia St.
"We suspect that the victims were probably held in this home in San Bernardino," Kice said.
The investigation was ongoing late Friday and federal agents are still searching for four other suspects believed to be involved in the smuggling ring.
Anyone else who may have been victimized is asked to call Detective Cesar Alban at the Morongo Basin sheriff's station at (760) 366-4183.
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