DPS: Honduran man paid more than $6K to smuggle 16-year-old girl - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

DPS: Honduran man paid more than $6K to smuggle 16-year-old girl into U.S.

Ledys Alvarenga-Sarmiento (Source: Polk County Jail) Ledys Alvarenga-Sarmiento (Source: Polk County Jail)
POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

According to a probable cause statement, the Honduran citizen who was arrested for child sex trafficking in Pennsylvania in late June paid a female “coyote” $3,000 to smuggle a 16-year-old girl into the United States and then had sex with her at a Livingston motel back in May.

Ledys Geovanny Alvarenga-Sarmiento is still being held in the Polk County Jail on a felony trafficking child/sexual conduct charge. His bail has been set at $150,000. He was transported to the Polk County Jail on June 27.

East Texas News obtained a copy of the probable cause statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety Monday.

An agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigations Division received word that at approximately 7:50 a.m. on May 6 that a DPS trooper stopped a 2000 Ford pickup with Tennessee license plates for speeding on US 59 North in Polk County. The trooper identified Alvarenga-Sarmiento by his Honduras ID card and passport.

In addition, the trooper identified the 16-year-old passenger in Alvarenga’s vehicle through documentation she provided from the Department of Health and Human Services, which stated she was a refugee from Honduras and in the legal custody of her aunt.

The girl told the DPS trooper that they were en route to Tennessee. However, she didn’t have any clothing or personal travel items with her, according to the probable cause statement.

Further investigation revealed that Alvarenga-Sarmiento and the girl had left the aunt’s residence at about 8 p.m. on May 5 and headed toward Tennessee. After only an hour of travel, Alvarenga and the 16-year-old girl stopped at the Livingston Inn, according to the probable cause statement.

Based on the timeline he was given and other conflicting information, the DPS trooper on the scene took Alvarenga-Sarmiento and the girl into custody for further questioning.

Later that day, the girl was interviewed by two DPS CID agents, a Child Protective Services Investigator, and a Department of Homeland Security agent. The girl told authorities that she had been transported from Honduras by a female coyote, or human smuggler. However, she had been arrested as she was trying to cross into the United States from Mexico, according to the probable cause statement.

According to the probable cause statement, the girl was held in El Paso by the Department of Health and Human Services until her aunt agreed to be her legal guardian. The aunt drove to El Paso to pick her up, and then stayed with the woman’s family in Spring, Texas.

Alvarenga-Sarmiento allegedly told authorities that he had been talking to the girl’s mother via Facebook for several months and had agreed to bring the girl into the United States to help her and her family. According to the probable cause statement, he initially paid the female coyote $3,000 to bring the girl into the country.

In addition, Alvarenga-Sarmiento allegedly paid the 16-year-old girl’s aunt a total of $3,750 when he picked the girl up at her aunt’s residence.

The probable cause statement indicated that Alvarenga-Sarmiento admitted to having sex with the girl at the Livingston Inn.

“[The suspect] stated that the sexual act was not completely successful because he did not want to force things and said he planned to marry [the girl] when she was of age,” the probable cause statement said.

Alvarenga also told authorities that he thought the girl’s aunt had extorted him by demanding additional money, according to the probable cause statement. He allegedly kept receipts of the transactions.

The girl was transported to Livingston Medical Center, where a sexual assault exam was conducted on her. DNA evidence was collected from the girl’s body and her panties.

Alvarenga will be required to submit a DNA sample, and that will be sent to the DPS Crime Laboratory “for analysis and comparison to the evidentiary samples and for further use in prosecuting any criminal activity,” according to the probable cause statement.

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