News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

ICE, Mexican authorities reunite kidnapped baby girl with Mexican mother

Pair separated for three months after abducted infant was smuggled into U.S.

LAS VEGAS - A woman from Juarez, Mexico, whose 7-month-old daughter was kidnapped from their home three months ago, was reunited with her child here earlier today, capping an intensive effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Procuraduria General de la Republica (the Mexican Attorney General's Office, commonly known as the PGR) to locate the infant and return her.

The mother, Francisca Garcia-Favila, was paroled into the United States and escorted to Las Vegas by ICE agents and representatives from the PGR. This morning marked the first time Garcia-Favila had seen her daughter, Alexandra, since the child was kidnapped shortly before Thanksgiving and brought into the United States by members of a Juarez-based human smuggling ring. Representatives from the local Mexican consulate attended today's reunion and are providing assistance to the mother.

"Seeing this child reunited with her mother was deeply gratifying for everyone involved," said Kevin Kozak, deputy special agent in charge of the ICE office that oversees the agency's investigative efforts in Las Vegas. "There were moments when we weren't sure the case would have a happy ending, but law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border persevered and this reunion is a direct result of our extraordinary cooperative efforts."

The child was allegedly abducted by Rosario Hernandez, a Mexican national living in Las Vegas, who was a distant acquaintance of the victim. After snatching the child, authorities say Hernandez sought assistance from a human smuggling organization to help her and the infant illegally cross the border. After the pair arrived in the United States, Hernandez and the infant became separated. Hernandez was arrested and detained after being intercepted at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol checkpoint in New Mexico. Meanwhile, the smuggling organization brought the infant to Las Vegas and turned her over to Hernandez's former boyfriend, Gamaniel Villapando-Triste. According to investigators, Hernandez had told Villapando-Triste he was the child's father, a claim Villapando-Triste believed because Hernandez was pregnant when the two separated. Villapando-Triste did not know Hernandez had subsequently suffered a miscarriage.

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