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Sacramento resident alerts Homeland Security to 'coyote' holding Mexican citizens hostage

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, a concerned Sacramento resident gave a tip that led to the discovery of a violent human smuggling operation.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Federal authorities say they arrested 29-year-old Mateo Gomez Gonzalez of Mexico near Dunnigan, California after a tip to law enforcement uncovered a human smuggling operation.

Referred to as "Coyotes," these types of human smugglers unlawfully transport people who lack U.S. citizenship.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of California, a Sacramento resident alerted authorities Sept. 28, 2022 to a relative and a friend being held against their will over a payment dispute with the Coyote operation.

Gonzalez allegedly was the driver in the operation, and he threatened the two Mexican citizens with captivity at an unknown stash house if they did not make additional payments.

Authorities say they located the described vehicle at a gas station and discovered four passengers in the vehicle who did not have lawful status in the United States.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful transportation of noncitizens and was sentenced Monday to 12 months in prison.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Homeland Security Investigations.

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