Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Teen claims smugglers took her as payment

Alberto Villanueva (MDC) A young Honduran girl told police in June that her father left her with his friend – a people smuggler – as payment for taking the family to the United States before the man took her to Albuquerque brought and regularly raped base.

Alberto Villanueva, 44, is charged in the case with three counts of criminal sexual penetration and two counts of child molestation and bribing a witness. Villanueva was arrested in July and is currently behind bars at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

A federal search warrant unsealed this week outlined the FBI’s investigation into the case, and state court files filled in some of the other details.

Charlie Moore-Pabst, a spokesman for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, said the agency knows the girl’s whereabouts and she is safe “at this time.”
Moore-Pabst said no further details could be released because it was a human trafficking case.

On June 17, 2021, an Albuquerque police officer was contacted by the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families regarding the sexual assault of a Del Norte High School student. The 16-year-old told police she is originally from Honduras and had been in the city for several months.

The girl reported the abuse to a teacher after being encouraged to do so by a friend, and the teacher notified CYFD, according to court records. A CYFD investigator found a State of Texas Power of Attorney Over Child signed by her father, assigning guardianship to Villanueva.

During an investigation into sexual assault, the teenager recounted years of abuse at the hands of Villanueva, with whom she lived in an apartment complex near the school. The teenager said she has known Villanueva, a friend of her father’s, since she was 13 and they all lived in Honduras.

The girl told authorities he has since regularly raped her and also forced her to send him nude photos and videos. She said in April she and her father met Villanueva in Piedras Negras, Mexico, and he smuggled her to the United States

The girl told police she thought she was living with an aunt in Texas, but instead her father went to Tennessee and Villanueva took her to Albuquerque. The girl said Villanueva was a people smuggler and her father owed him $30,000 for her passage into the country.

“She believed that she herself should serve as a means of payment for Villanueva,” the federal search warrant affidavit said.

Authorities said Villanueva took her passport, birth certificate and other papers. The teen said she doesn’t know anyone in town, and Villanueva never allowed anyone to come into the apartment and threatened to hurt her and her parents “if she disobeyed him.”

The girl told a sexual assault examiner Villanueva would rape her twice a day, give her a pill beforehand and withhold food if she refused, according to court records. She said she reported the abuse to her aunt in Texas, who told her “not to come if she was pregnant.”

Police said the girl told them Villanueva choked her and threw her against a wall the day before she reported the abuse because she tried to resist his advances.

During the sexual assault exam, Villanueva repeatedly called and texted the girl when she didn’t answer. Then, according to authorities, her father called and told her that she was lying about Villanueva, that she “belonged with (Villanueva)” and that he was “getting in trouble for no reason.”

Authorities said a nurse overheard the conversation, which ended with the father saying he and Villanueva would come to the teenager’s home.

Comments are closed.