3 suspects identified in Southwest Side human smuggling operation

One victim found to be wanted on two warrants out of Mexico, BCSO says

SAN ANTONIO – Three men arrested Thursday night for their involvement in a human smuggling operation have been identified, according to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

Cesar Monsivias Vanegas, 23; Ramiro Herrera Martinez, 23; and Raul Rodriguez, 19, were arrested.

Charges for the three men range from engaging in organized criminal activity to the smuggling of persons. Only Vanegas was charged with operations of a stash house, as BCSO believes he was responsible for the operation, according to Salazar.

In Friday’s press conference, Salazar identified one of the victims, 59-year-old Francisco Valdez Carmona, as being wanted out of Mexico on two warrants — a 2009 homicide in Mexico City and a 2022 kidnapping in the state of Querétaro, respectively.

It remains unclear what the extradition process looks like for Carmona, according to the sheriff.

Including Carmona, eight victims, ranging in age from 2 to 59 years old, were rescued from the stash house in the 1400 block of West Southcross.

Salazar said the victims paid anywhere between $2,000 and $8,500 to be smuggled into the United States. BCSO said their destinations were Houston and Atlanta.

Thursday night, a woman claiming to be the mother of the 2-year-old victim contacted BCSO, Salazar said. After confirming their relationship, the child was released to the mother.

The woman is not currently facing any charges. However, Salazar said more charges could come as the investigation continues.

Salazar did not identify any additional suspects nor the nationalities of the victims rescued.

You can watch BCSO’s press conference in the video player below:

Related coverage:

3 in custody, 8 rescued in Southwest Side human smuggling operation, BCSO says

About the Authors

Mason Hickok is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, walking his dogs and listening to podcasts.

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

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