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News Release

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Media Relations

Coyotes Hold Young Girls For Ransom

Los Angeles: Robbery-Homicide detectives are asking the public's help in finding 2 young girls and their adult aunt who are being held in a coyote extortion case.

On March 10, 2007, the mother of the two girls paid a "coyote" to smuggle her daughters, ages 11 and 12, and their adult aunt and uncle, from El Salvador to the United States. She last spoke to her daughters on April 4, 2007, when they were in Tampico, Mexico. She was informed that the coyotes separated the girls and their aunt from their uncle in Guatemala.

On June 29, 2007, the mother began to receive calls from unknown men who demanded more money to release her daughters. She did not comply since she could not verify whether the callers actually had the girls.

Detectives were able to determine that the calls demanding more money originated from San Diego and Mexico's boarder. In an interview with the girls' uncle in El Salvador, he told detectives that the coyote separated him from the girls and their aunt and he was subsequently detained for 2 months by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when she attempted to enter the U.S.

Anyone with any information about this crime is asked to call Robbery-Homicide Detective D. Jaramillo or Detective D. Maxwell at 213-485-2511. After hours and on weekends, call the 24-hour toll free Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAW-FULL (529-3855).