MESA, Ariz. -- Two illegal immigrants suspected of holding a 4-year-old boy hostage face state kidnapping charges following the child's rescue by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
ICE agents rescued the boy from a gang of hostage takers in Mesa on Oct. 21 following a report from the child's mother in West Palm Beach, Fla., ICE officials said.
Marlene Garcia, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, alerted the West Palm Beach Police Department after she received phone calls threatening her son's life and demanding money, ICE officials said.
The police brought the case to ICE's Office of Investigations in West Palm Beach, which alerted ICE agents in Phoenix.
The Phoenix ICE office then initiated an investigation seeking to find the child. Investigators were able to track the kidnappers to a Mesa hotel, where they discovered the boy and arrested the men, officials said.
Marcelino Ramirez-Velasquez, 34, of Guatemala, and Jose Luis Torres-Pais-Paez, 25, of Mexico, are each facing one count of kidnapping, a class two dangerous felony and dangerous crime against children and one count of theft by extortion, a class four felony.
Both defendants were indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on Oct. 31.
"It's well-known that human smugglers have little regard for human life," said Matt Allen, special agent of the ICE Office of Investigations in Arizona. "However, threatening the safety of a child, takes this reprehensible disregard to a whole new level."
"This case is indicative of the style of violence this office has been combating," said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. "We are grateful that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was able to rescue this child."
In addition to the three hostage takers, ICE arrested two Mexican nationals who were encountered in the same hotel rooms being used by the suspects.
Javier Garcia-Hernandez and Jorge Mora-Valdez are being prosecuted for re-entry after deportation, a federal felony which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.