- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2016

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) - A South Texas man must serve life in prison for running a human smuggling ring in which some immigrants were tortured to extort money from their relatives.

Eduardo Rocha Sr. was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Del Rio. Prosecutors say the 45-year-old Rocha since 2013 operated the gang-related ring from Carrizo (kuh-REE’-zuh) Springs, with ties to Mexico.

Rocha in 2015 was convicted of multiple conspiracy counts, plus three counts of harboring an illegal immigrant involving serious bodily injury.

Investigators say Rocha ordered accomplices to torture some immigrants as relatives of the victims, contacted via telephone, could hear their loved ones being attacked. A family member in Virginia called 911, leading to the 2014 rescue of some immigrants.

Five co-conspirators also received prison for their roles in the ring.


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