'Barbaric, Medieval' Treatment at Two Alleged Rehab Facilities in Texas Leads to 10 Arrests

By Paul Gaita 10/12/16

Patients described being restrained and physically abused by the individuals who operated the home.

'Barbaric, Medieval' Treatment at Two Alleged Rehab Facilities in Texas Leads to 10 Arrests

Police in Fort Worth and Irving, Texas, have arrested 10 individuals associated with supposed substance abuse rehabilitation facilities where patients were allegedly held against their will and subjected to physical abuse.

Local police became aware of the situation on Oct. 4 while responding to a disturbance call involving a man being pursued by three other individuals in Irving. The man, Jesus Dorado, alleged that he had fled a home that served as a rehab center, and that the three men intended to bring him back there against his will. 

When police investigated the location, they found 37 individuals, all described as patients, living in squalid conditions that police described as “medieval and barbaric” in a statement issued Oct. 6.

While many of the men said they had been brought to the house by family members or friends to receive what they believed would be treatment, others alleged that they had been kidnapped and held there against their will. Patients described being allegedly restrained and physically abused by the individuals who operated the home. Food was relegated to ramen noodles once a day, and beds were constructed from two-by-fours. 

Seven men working at the home were arrested at the Irving house, five of which were on charges of aggravated kidnapping with bodily injury and two others charged with aggravated kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Alleged testimony from one of the patients, Danillo Maldonado, directed police to two similar facilities in Fort Worth.

At one home, they found 11 patients—eight men and three women—all of whom echoed similar stories of kidnapping and physical abuse. Three more men were arrested at that location and charged with aggravating kidnapping and kidnapping, according to jail records. 

Neither the first nor second locations were listed in the Texas Department of State Health Services’ database for facilities licensed to treat substance use disorder. James McLellan, a spokesperson for the Irving police, said that the exact purpose of the operation in the three houses has yet to be determined.

“This place isn't just some well-intended organization for people who don't otherwise have the means to be in rehab,” he said. “I have a hard time believing the people running these places had good intentions.”

Neighbors living across from the Irving house expressed surprise over the allegations and described the home, which they believed to be associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, as “normal [and] peaceful.”

A former patient, Francisco Cruz Monjaraz, also stated that he never experienced any physical abuse during his time at the Irving house between 2012 and 2013. Patients were allowed to leave, and chores were the worst punishments he witnessed. “It was against the rules to hit anyone,” he said.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.