Haralson County, GA – Five people were arrested early on Monday morning in connection with a human smuggling operation after a mother reported that her son had been taken when she couldn’t make the final payment for his illegal trip into the United States.
Officials said the mother called police at about 1 a.m. on June 7 and explained that she had previously made a down payment to human smugglers to have her son brought into the country, WGCL reported.
She said that she didn’t have enough money for the final payment to the smugglers when her son was delivered to her.
When the mother went to the Georgia Welcome Center in Haralson County to get her son on June 7 and told the smugglers she couldn’t pay them, they took her son back and left the area, WGCL reported.
So she called 911 and reported that her teenage son had been kidnapped.
Investigators said the mother told them the smugglers “took the child back” because she couldn’t pay them, WAGA reported.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) issued a “Levi’s Call,” Georgia’s version of the Amber Alert. for 16-year-old Darlin David Hernandez Zuniga on Monday morning.
Deputies found Zuniga a short while later at a welcome center in Alabama, just over the state line, WAGA reported.
Authorities arrested five people at the scene, including a pregnant woman.
There was an #AmberAlert issued earlier this morning in Haralson County Georgia. That alert has been cancelled and the child is safe. We will release more details later today. pic.twitter.com/t0GdPfAG77
— Haralson Sheriff (@HaralsonSheriff) June 7, 2021
Zuniga was sent to the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office and reunited with his mother, WAGA reported.
The investigation into the human smuggling operation is ongoing.