Over 50 People, Including Toddlers Found inside War Zone Stash House


November 8, 2022, 9:15 pm

By: ABQ RAW staff

POSTED: 11/08/2022 @ 2:10PM

war zone apartment where over 50 smuggled illegals were stashed

gun and money found inside suspect vehicle

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We are learning of a huge human trafficking bust made in ABQ last week. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on Friday of last week rescued three Guatemalan undocumented non-citizens who were being held for ransom, and arrested their suspected hostage takers.

ABQ RAW learned that the Phoenix Police Department got a tip from a family member about a ransom situation in Albuquerque.

“Phoenix PD assisted with the investigation,” said Sgt. Phil Krynsky of the Phoenix Police Department.

According to HSI, in the course of their investigation, special agents encountered 58 undocumented non-citizens. The Albuquerque Police Department also assisted with the rescue of a mother and her two daughters – ages 5 and 9

Marcelo Alonso-Almaraz, 32, and Eloisa Almaraz-Vasquez, 35, both undocumented non-citizens from Mexico, are charged with human smuggling and hostage taking. Alonso-Almaraz is also charged with possession of a firearm. Both made an initial appearance in federal court Friday, and attended a preliminary detention hearing today where they were ordered held without bond pending their judicial proceedings.


The three Guatemalans were also allegedly being held for ransom in an apartment in the 500 block of Palomas Drive SE in the ABQ war zone. According to court documents, a relative residing in Arizona paid $30,000 to smugglers to have her sister and her two nieces snuck into the United States. However, the smugglers demanded an additional $6,000 to release them. This triggered the family members in Phoenix to call Police and report their family members being held hostage.

“What started as a joint effort by HSI and the Albuquerque Police Department to rescue kidnapping victims, revealed not just the illicit movement of people, but a criminal network involved in extortion” said HSI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola. “Human smuggling is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, and the individuals being smuggled are viewed as cargo by the transnational criminal organizations, whose nefarious activities demonstrate a total disregard for both our laws and for human life.”

On Friday November 4th, 2022, HSI Albuquerque special agents conducted an enforcement action and rescued the kidnapping victims, they also apprehended 10 undocumented non-citizens, and arrested Alonso-Almaraz and Almaraz-Vasquez off of I-40 in a commercial parking lot, where the hostage takers were to receive the additional smuggling fee.

The door to the apartment that was raided to rescue hostages.

A witness who lived next door told ABQRAW they saw law enforcement people taking at least 40 people out of the apartment on the 500 block of Palomas last week.

“They broke the window out on the apartment to rescue the people inside,” said an unidentified witness from the scene

A busted out window covered by plywood at the apartment unit that was raided.

Later in the day, special agents executed a search warrant at the apartment on Palomas Dr. SE where they located an additional 48 undocumented non-citizens, seized nearly $47,000 in U.S. currency, ledgers, a firearm and a loaded magazine. Forty of the undocumented non-citizens were from Mexico, 14 from Guatemala, and four from Ecuador. Court documents show that there was an inadequate food supply, lack of water and severe overcrowding in the apartment.


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