"The Rooster" Is Back in Houston, This Time Against His Will
Photo by Jim Bahn
A Mexican national notorious for trafficking women in the Houston area landed in the United States yesterday and will face charges from the U.S. Attorney's Office relating to his smuggling of women.
Gerardo Salazar, 47, of Mexico City, arrived in Houston yesterday after being arrested in Mexico. He will make his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge Friday.
Salazar, who goes by "El Gallo" ("The Rooster" in English), has allegedly coerced young Mexican women to come to Houston and forced them through physical and mental abuse to prostitute themselves at Houston-area bars, according to an FBI press release.
"Let Salazar's return provide assurance to these victims and others that those who engage in the egregious crimes of human trafficking will be pursued around the globe and brought to justice," said Carlos Barron, the FBI's acting special agent in charge.
The "around the globe" part is important. According to the Houston Chronicle, Salazar's return marks the first time Mexico has extradited one of its citizens to Texas to face such charges.
"The formal arrest following the successful extradition of the defendant today represents our commitment to bring those accused of human trafficking to the bar of justice," U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said.
Salazar was indicted by a Houston federal grand jury in 2005, along with six other Mexican nationals. "The Rooster" was on the run in Mexico until he was arrested in 2010, according to the Chronicle.
If Salazar is convicted, he faces up to life in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. All the other co-defendants have entered guilty pleas and been sentenced to federal prison.