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Published On: Sat, Mar 9th, 2019

Hector Sanchez-Morales Indicted for Kidnapping, Harboring an Illegal Alien, and Extortion

On February 28, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Héctor Sánchez-Morales for kidnapping, harboring of an illegal alien, and extortion, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The FBI is in charge of the investigation.

The indictment alleges that on February 3, in the District of Puerto Rico, Héctor Sánchez-Morales did unlawfully and willfully seize, confine, and hold for ransom A.G., an adult female, and in furtherance of the commission of the offense, used a telephone and vehicle, facilities of interstate commerce. On February 3, 2019, A.G., a citizen from the Dominican Republic, arrived at Rincón, Puerto Rico, by boat, and entered the island illegally. After A.G. disembarked the boat, defendant Sánchez-Morales approached her and offered to help her if she went with him. A.G. agreed and the defendant transported her to his house in Añasco, Puerto Rico. After A.G. bathed, Sánchez-Morales raped her twice.

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After Sánchez-Morales sexually assaulted A.G., he kept her against her will until the next day, when he told her that she needed to leave by that evening, or else he would kill her. The defendant also demanded that she call her friends so they could pay him money for her release. Later that evening A.G.’s friends arrived to the agreed upon place with the defendant, paid him $400, and he released the victim to her friends. After a few days of investigation, the FBI arrested Sánchez-Morales.

The defendant is facing one count for harboring an illegal alien. On February 3, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien, A.G., had entered and remained in the United States in violation of law, Sánchez-Morales concealed, harbored, and shielded A.G. from detection for private financial gain, and in doing so caused her serious bodily injury. Sánchez-Morales is also facing one count for extortion for requesting and receiving U.S. Currency as ransom and reward for the release of his victim whom he had kidnapped.

“The FBI is actively investigating all cases involving human trafficking or kidnappings in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands regardless of the immigration status of the victims,” said Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office” “Public tips and information assist the FBI and its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. Citizens with information on human trafficking or other federal crimes are asked to contact the FBI San Juan Field Office at 787-754-6000, or to submit tips through the FBI’s tip line available on our website at Tips.FBI.Gov. Tipsters can remain anonymous.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas W. Cannon, Deputy Chief, Immigration, Cybercrimes, and Child Exploitation. If convicted, the defendant faces up to life in prison for the kidnapping charge, up to 20 years for harboring an alien, and up to five years for extortion. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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