By Jared Taylor
MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - A federal grand jury has indicted two Mexican nationals on charges they confined dozens of illegal immigrants in houses along the South Texas border with Mexico, some locked inside without food or water for days.
A Honduran man who was among a those confined in one of the "stash houses" told a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent the man in charge would greet each newcomer by saying, "Welcome to Hell," according to court documents.
The indictment, returned on Tuesday, charges Vicente Ortiz Soto and Marcial Salas Gardunio, both 24, with conspiracy to harbor aliens and alien harboring, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement.
It was Salas who allegedly welcomed new arrivals to "Hell," according to a federal criminal complaint that preceded the indictment.
Police in Edinburg, Texas, discovered 115 undocumented immigrants crammed inside a cluster of three houses on May 2.
The officers were responding to an emergency call from a person claiming that he and dozens of other illegal border-crossers had been locked inside without food or water, the criminal complaint said.
Some of the migrants said they were given nothing to eat or drink for at least three days, and several required medical treatment for dehydration, according to police and court documents.
One of the houses had bars over the windows and had been locked shut with chains and padlocks, police said.
Ortiz and Salas were taken into custody at the scene, and both remain jailed without bond. If convicted, each man faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count in the indictment.
The criminal complaint accuses Ortiz of driving immigrants to the stash houses from the border and selling them snacks. It said Salas told federal agents Ortiz paid him $500 a week to help smuggle, track and guard the migrants.
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Todd Eastham)