An Arizona trucker stands accused of kidnapping an undocumented migrant making an attempt to make his approach from the U.S.-Mexico border to Pennsylvania, then tormenting his captive with a duplicate AR-15, a stun gun, and a knife, all of the whereas threatening to “depart him within the desert to die, and kill him and grasp his physique from a bridge” until he got here up with $30,000, in keeping with federal courtroom information reviewed by The Every day Beast.
After 4 days, the hostage, named in an affidavit as Mexican nationwide Jose Jaime Garcia-Escamilla, managed to tell staff of his plight on the excessive desert motel the place he was being held hostage, and pleaded for them to name police.
Asylum seekers and different undocumented migrants have lengthy advised horror stories of their own experiences being held hostage by human smugglers whereas their households are extorted for ransoms. Some are physically abused throughout their journeys north, others raped, robbed, or even killed. Few perpetrators reportedly end up facing justice for their crimes.
Garcia-Escamilla’s harrowing ordeal started on the night of Nov. 30, when he and 5 others climbed a border fence close to Douglas, Arizona, and started strolling by way of the Sonoran desert. Alongside the way in which, three different members of the group fell behind their information and obtained misplaced, in keeping with Garcia-Escamilla’s account of the journey.
A short time later, Garcia-Escamilla and one other individual making the harmful crossborder trek had been picked up by a white truck and brought to a home half-hour away. They had been then stashed in a small room connected to the property to cover out, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
The following day, a “chubby male, with salt and pepper hair,” recognized as 44-year-old Clifford Lee Tanner, confirmed up in a grey Dodge Durango and drove the pair to Phoenix, the criticism states. Upon their arrival, Tanner met up with somebody in a white van, “and an argument over fee ensued.” Tanner then “retrieved a black AR-15 pistol from beneath the driving force’s seat and pointed it on the driver of the white van earlier than driving away in an erratic style,” as Garcia-Escamilla and the second migrant sat within the again, the criticism alleges.
A short while later, the driving force met up with a relative of the second migrant, who handed over an envelope of money, the criticism continues. Tanner then drove to California, the place the second man was dropped off. Tanner knowledgeable Garcia-Escamilla that he would take him to his vacation spot in Pennsylvania for $9,000. However when Garcia-Escamilla balked, Tanner drove him to Tucson as a substitute.
In keeping with the criticism, Tanner “repeatedly threatened [Garcia-Escamilla] with violence and advised him issues like he would abandon him, depart him within the desert to die, and kill him and grasp his physique from a bridge.” Tanner additionally “repeatedly tormented [Garcia-Escamilla] with a stun gun and a knife,” the criticism says. When Tanner later stopped at a fuel station, Garcia-Escamilla unsuccessfully tried to flee. However Garcia-Escamilla obtained again within the SUV after Tanner pointed the AR-15 at his chest and threatened to kill him, in keeping with the criticism.
Apparently enraged, the criticism says Tanner jacked up the worth of freedom for Garcia-Escamilla, telling him that “he can neglect going to Pennsylvania,” that the price of his launch would now be $30,000, and that Garcia-Escamilla “labored for [Tanner] now.”
Tanner drove to a neighborhood Travelodge and rented two rooms for the evening, states the criticism. He advised Garcia-Escamilla to take a bathe and get some sleep whereas Tanner made himself comfy close by.
The next day, a resort worker knocked on Garcia-Escamilla’s door and advised him it was time to take a look at. That’s when a terrified Garcia-Escamilla requested the employee to name the police and inform them he was being held towards his will, the criticism explains. Officers arrived a short while later, and transported Garcia-Escamilla to a close-by Border Patrol station.
As Garcia-Escamilla recounted his story to brokers, one other Border Patrol unit went to the Travelodge to analyze. They noticed a grey Durango within the car parking zone, and after Garcia-Escamilla recognized Tanner as the person who had kidnapped him, Tanner was arrested.
In an interview with the Border Patrol, Tanner claimed that he had been “instructed to select up 4 of ‘them’ close to Douglas,” on Dec. 1. He mentioned he made the journey at 4 a.m. that morning, and used a night-vision system to identify his passengers.
“He acknowledged he solely discovered two of them and he felt sorry for them as a result of they had been freezing and in dangerous form,” states the criticism. “Tanner acknowledged he didn’t know what occurred to the opposite two, whether or not they stayed on the market within the desert or froze to demise.”
Tanner claimed he hadn’t ever threatened Garcia-Escamilla, aside from “a second when the ‘child’ appeared scared and he advised him to ‘sit down,’” in keeping with the submitting. “Tanner denied pointing the gun at [Garcia-Escamilla] however admitted that [Garcia-Escamilla] knew he had it.”
When Border Patrol brokers searched Tanner’s automobile, they found an ultra-realistic .177 caliber AR-15-style pellet gun beneath the driver’s seat, together with what the criticism describes as “a useful stun gun, receipts from cash transfers in California on December 1, 2021, and a pocket book with handwritten names, dates, greenback quantities and notes in keeping with smuggling or transporting Undocumented Non-Residents.”
Tanner then confessed that he had labored for a similar “alien smuggling group” beforehand, telling brokers that his first job for the group concerned amassing fee for “30,000-40,000 tablets” from somebody on the south facet of Tucson and sending the cash to Nogales, Mexico.
In courtroom, prosecutors argued towards Tanner being launched on bail, citing “his prolonged legal historical past.”
“The defendant’s legal historical past started in 1996 and, aside from durations of incarceration, continued nearly with out interruption till August 2019, when he was launched from his most up-to-date stint within the Arizona Division of Corrections,” states a government detention motion filed Dec. 13. “The defendant has at the least 13 misdemeanor convictions and 9 felony convictions… [S]ince turning 30 years previous, the defendant has dedicated new crimes on seven events in simply six years, together with convictions associated to drug possession, theft of technique of transportation, trafficking in stolen property, misconduct involving weapons, drug trafficking, misdemeanor assault, and a number of failures to look.”
Apart from an incident in 2007, Tanner, who had labored as a truck driver however whose industrial license had since lapsed, “dedicated every new crime whereas both on state probation or federal supervised launch,” in keeping with the movement.
Tanner, who claimed he and his girlfriend predict a child, was indicted on Dec. 29 on fees of transportation of unlawful aliens for revenue, and conspiracy to move unlawful aliens for revenue.
In a motion of their own, Tanner’s public defenders, Elena M. Kay and Angeles Rodriguez-Madera, mentioned Tanner “intends to combat the costs and wish to clear his title.”
Kay and Rodriguez-Madera didn’t reply to The Every day Beast’s request for remark, and Tanner—who stays jailed, in keeping with courtroom information—was unable to be reached.If convicted, Tanner faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.