San Antonio woman arrested on six counts of human trafficking – San Antonio Express-News

A San Antonio woman has been arrested on six felony counts of human trafficking after the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office alleged that she forced migrants to perform labor for “slave wages.”

Rosita Lira, 52, was taken into custody Thursday, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a news conference. The BCSO received a tip about Lira a few days ago, Salazar said.

Officers had attempted to engage with Lira weeks ago at a residence in the 1600 block of Hillcrest Drive in the West Side, but they didn’t find evidence of human trafficking or drug smuggling, which authorities had been searching for that day, Salazar said.

Subsequently, video surveillance obtained by the sheriff’s office showed Lira with three young men who were later determined to be undocumented Venezuelan immigrants.

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An undercover agent approached Lira at a residence and arranged for the men to do work at a nearby house. After they arrived at the home, the men were separated from Lira, who was later arrested.

Salazar said the men had been working from sunup to sundown on “slave wages” — roughly $100 split between the group for a week of work.

Deputies discovered another group of migrants at a different location whose story was similar to the one told by the group that was with Lira when officers confronted her, Salazar said.

Salazar said that additional arrests might be made in connection with the case but didn’t offer further details.

“Unfortunately, people are abusing these folks and taking advantage of them,” he said, “even though everybody knows that they’re not allowed to work legally.”

The men are not facing criminal charges in the matter. Salazar said they have been taken to a local shelter.

“They’re being treated as victims in this case,” he said.

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