After more than 10 Hispanic immigrants told police this week that they were being held against their will, 10 people were arrested as detectives tried to sort out what one Fort Worth police official called “unorthodox” rehab programs.
Initially, Fort Worth police believed the immigrants might be victims of human trafficking.
“After interviewing the victims, it was discovered that some of them had been taken to this facility by family members,” police Sgt. Marc Povero said in an email on Wednesday. “They were taken for alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation.”
The investigation began Tuesday morning when Irving police responded to a disturbance call on Union Bowers Road. Officers found a man being chased by several other men, Irving Detective James McLellan said.
“The victim advised police that he had run away from a treatment facility,” McLellan said.
The man directed police to a facility in the 2400 block of Penn Street where officers found several people described as patients. At least two patients told officers they were being held against their will, and some said they’d been physically abused. Interviews are continuing.
“Someone at that facility told officers that there were similar programs in Fort Worth,” McLellan said.
Fort Worth detectives went to locations on North Beach Street and Brentwood Stair Road.
“Officers found nine patients at the Beach Street location, and no one said they were being held against their will,” Povero said.
But at the Brentwood Stair center, officers found eight men and three women whom they listed as victims in their report. The youngest is a 22-year-old woman, the oldest is a 66-year-old man.
“All the victims are Hispanic, and most spoke little or no English,” Povero said.
Neither Irving nor Fort Worth police released the name of the program. There were no signs on a building at the address in the 5000 block of Brentwood Stair Road.
In Irving, eight people were arrested Tuesday at the facility, many on outstanding warrants. Specific to the program, six suspects were charged with aggravated kidnapping and one was charged with unlawful restraint, according to an Irving police news release.
“Detectives also are trying to determine if the program had the proper licenses, meets code compliances and medical standards,” McLellan said.
Three men were arrested in Fort Worth: Rodrigo Soto Gonzalez, 23; Ricardo Rodriguez Taylor, 21; and Adolfo Tello, 60, according to Fort Worth jail records.
They face charges of aggravated kidnapping.
Povero said the aggravated charges apply because there was more than one victim and force was used to keep the people in the program.
“There were assaults involved,” Povero said.