McALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A key witness in a major public corruption case pleaded guilty Wednesday to holding a 4-year-old boy hostage.
Carlos Oyervides, 47, of Edinburg, confessed to calling the boy’s father and demanding cash.
“I plead guilty, your honor,” Oyervides said on Wednesday morning when he appeared before a judge at the federal courthouse in McAllen.
Oyervides was a key witness in Operation Blue Shame, a major public corruption case.
During the investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement discovered that Oyervides had stolen drugs from the Gulf Cartel and recruited a network of corrupt law enforcement officers to cover up the thefts.
Oyervides, who had spent more than a decade smuggling drugs, decided to cooperate with the government.
He detailed how Border Patrol agents and police officers had accepted bribes. He recorded conversations with co-conspirators. And he testified during a two-week trial.
“My job was to get ahold of friends,” Oyervides said, according to the trial transcript. “Police officer friends.”
Thanks in part to information Oyervides provided, federal prosecutors sent two Border Patrol agents and four other law enforcement officers to prison. Operation Blue Shame also resulted in spin-off cases against former La Joya police Chief Geovani Hernandez and Johnny Jacob Domingue, a former sheriff’s deputy from Louisiana.
In 2021, a judge sentenced Oyervides to time served. Less than two years later, however, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Oyervides again.
Smugglers had taken a 4-year-old Mexican boy hostage and wouldn’t release him unless they received $6,500.
A federal agent, who posed as the boy’s uncle, contacted the smugglers in April 2022.
“The suspect implied in the Spanish language that if the money was not paid, the child would be harmed,” according to a criminal complaint filed against Oyervides. “The English translation was roughly that if the family did not pay, ‘they would get the child back, but it would not be in a way they would want the child back.’”
After attempts to set up a face-to-face meeting failed, agents decided to focus on finding the phone smugglers had used to make ransom demands.
On April 8, 2022, members of the Houston Police Department SWAT team stopped a white Ford F-150 outside an apartment complex. They found Oyervides and another man in the truck, along with the phone.
Oyervides confessed to calling the boy’s father and claimed he would be paid $200 for participating in the scheme.
Officers, meanwhile, located the 4-year-old boy in a nearby apartment. He appeared unharmed.
Oyervides returned to federal court on Wednesday morning wearing a gray sweatshirt and khaki pants. With one handcuffed to a chain around his waist, Oyervides pleaded guilty to a hostage-taking charge.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.