McALLEN, Texas — Two men are set to appear in McAllen federal court on various charges related to the kidnapping and transportation of a minor across state lines, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment Nov. 5, against Brandon Galvez, 22, and Jose Serrano-Ramos, 23, both from Chalmette, Louisiana. Today, they are set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis at 9:00 a.m.
Both are charged with transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Galvez was also indicted on charges of kidnapping and coercion and enticement of a minor.
According to the charges, the investigation began after the mother of an 13-year-old girl reported she had left the family home in McAllen. Later, authorities allegedly encountered Galvez and Serrano-Ramos traveling north with her and noticed signs of possible abuse. Law enforcement then took the men into custody.
The investigation revealed Galvez had allegedly groomed the victim and traveled to Texas with the intent to transport her back to Chalmette. The charges allege Galvez paid Serrano-Ramos to transport him and the victim from McAllen to Louisiana. The charges allege Serrano-Ramos knew the victim had been sexually abused.
If convicted, both men potentially face up to life in federal prison.
The FBI and McAllen Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.