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A Texas woman has been accused of holding over a dozen undocumented immigrants hostage in her home, threatening to deprive them of food and water and refusing to let them leave until they "worked off" thousands of dollars of "debt."

Manuela Magdalena Jimon Castro, 30, of Friona, was charged with "alien harboring": keeping 17 undocumented individuals, including two minors, captive, the U.

S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas said Thursday.

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Castro, along with a family member, allegedly partnered with an illegal immigrant smuggling operation to hold the individuals in their home and not allow them to leave until they worked off $11,000 or $12,000 in "debt."

Authorities were tipped off by California law enforcement, who received a tip from a woman claiming her sister was being held for ransom in Texas. The woman reported that her sister had traveled from Guatemala to Mexico with plans to seek asylum in the United States, crossing the border with a Mexican cartel that held her captive.

In a subsequent interview with law enforcement, the woman said she was forced into a car at gunpoint by individuals she believed to be a part of a smuggling operation, before shuttling her over the U.S. border to Castro's residence, where she was detained until she paid $12,000.

When authorities conducted a search of Castro's home, they recovered 17 undocumented individuals indicating that the house was sparse in furniture except for mattresses and blankets spread across the floor.

"They indicated that the smugglers had confiscated their cell phones, and only allowed intermittent contact with family members in order to obtain money to pay their 'entrance fees.' Several stated that they believed they had to stay at the residence in Friona until their entrance fee had been paid in full," the statement read.

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If convicted, Castro faces up to five years in federal prison.

Texas News Border Crisis Immigrants Immigration

News Source: washingtonexaminer.com

Tags: texas texas undocumented immigrants california border texas news border crisis immigrants immigration undocumented individuals smuggling operation law enforcement individuals charged texas woman

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Loretta Lynn dead at 90: County music icon known for hits Coal Miner’s Daughter and You Ain’t Woman Enough passes away

LEGENDARY country singer Loretta Lynn, known for her hits Coal Miner's Daughter and You Aint Woman Enough, has died at 90.

In a statement to the Asssoicated Press, Lynn's family said the iconic singer died on Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

1Iconic country singer Loretta Lynn has diedCredit: Getty Images - Getty

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