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McALLEN, Texas -- Three men are in federal custody after holding 35 immigrants in a South Texas apartment while they extorted their families.

The McAllen Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/1l6QVQ6 ) Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New York were notified by the brother of a Honduran man when he escaped the Pharr apartment where they were being held. The immigrant led ICE agents back to the apartment where they arrested three men and rescued the others on Monday.

According to court records filed Thursday, the captors beat them and threatened to kill them if their families did not send money.

Immigrants are commonly held in houses near the border by smugglers after crossing the Rio Grande until the next leg of their journey north can be arranged. Increasingly their families are extorted for more money.

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Information from: The Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com

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