New details came out Tuesday in the sentencing hearing for a retired state trooper who pleaded guilty in a human trafficking case.
Prosecutors told a federal judge that a woman Ronald Strickland paid $8,000 to smuggle in from Honduras nearly died in the desert.
Strickland was going to be sentenced Tuesday, but during the hearing, the judge continued the case while he considers some motions.
Strickland could face five years in prison. Prosecutors say he went to Honduras on mission trips and had relationships with six different women, paying them for sex.
They said Strickland paid smugglers $8,000 to have a woman named Rosa smuggled across the border in 2016. Agents said she fell from a train trying to run away from gangs and was abandoned by her coyotes in the desert, where she was lost for two days.
Authorities recovered messages they say are between Strickland and a friend of the smuggler. Strickland allegedly wrote, “What did he do with the money and why did he abandon Rosa where it’s so dangerous?”
Rosa made it to Texas on her third try. She was at Strickland’s home in Franklin last year when federal agents were tipped off and raided the house.
The News 4 I-Team’s Alanna Autler found that Strickland had been arrested in Honduras in 2007, accused of raping a minor. That teen was the sister of Strickland’s then-lover. The charge was dismissed.
Tuesday in court, prosecutors started to introduce evidence of that prior case during the sentencing hearing. The defense objected and the case is being continued.
Prosecutors said that Strickland threatened to have Rosa and her father arrested on a theft charge if she didn’t cooperate.
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