KEY POINTS

  • A 27-year-old man in Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to harbor undocumented immigrants
  • The man was accused of holding several immigrants hostage in a Houston house and depriving them of food
  • An accomplice pleaded guilty in June, while a third suspect remains at large

A 27-year-old man in Houston, Texas, linked to an alleged nightclub abduction has admitted to aiding in human trafficking.

During a Zoom hearing Friday with District Judge Charles Eskridge, Mexican national Victor Martinez pleaded guilty to two of the five counts against him: being an undocumented immigrant illegally in possession of a firearm and conspiring with others to harbor undocumented immigrants, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Martinez had initially denied the charges against him. However, he later agreed to a statement read by prosecutor Richard W. Bennett that alleged he held eight people from four countries for days at a ramshackle house in the 1700 block of Warwick in north Houston.

Further, he allegedly showed off a loaded gun, rarely fed the detainees and demanded money from the captives’ relatives. The statement also alleged he was the man some hostages had identified as the boss of the operation.

Martinez is set to be sentenced on Sept. 17.

Harris County prosecutors dismissed the state charges against Martinez when the feds took over the case. The 27-year-old previously had convictions on state charges.

This development came not long after an accomplice, 20-year-old Eneas Ramos, pleaded guilty in June. He admitted to harboring undocumented immigrants at the same Houston location. Ramos is set to be sentenced on Aug. 18.

A third suspect has yet to be apprehended. He was identified as Demetrio Martinez-Bucio.

The operation was unearthed after a woman was abducted at gunpoint in March 2020 at a nightclub in Aldine, Texas. She was brought by the kidnapper to the house in a black Dodge Charger, the Houston Chronicle earlier reported.

The woman, Liliana Romero, refused to go inside the car. She managed to escape from the vehicle at a gas station but took photos of the man and his license plate before he drove off. She shared with police the photos and the address of the house where the abductor allegedly intended to rape her.

When authorities arrived at the address, Martinez was spotted walking out of the house and was arrested. Police found a loaded Ruger .40 caliber pistol in the vehicle. They proceeded to check the house and discovered several immigrants being held hostage, including three from Sri Lanka, two from Mexico and one from Honduras.

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Representation. A U.S. courtroom. Pixabay
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