Police said a woman and her teenage daughter were kidnapped from a Dallas shopping center and driven across the state.
The 16-year-old girl is the star witness in an upcoming felony criminal trial, Dallas police said.
"There are just several things about this that are out of the ordinary," Sgt. Ross Salverino said.
Investigators said they believe someone hired the kidnappers to get the mother and daughter out of the country.
The girl and her mother were nabbed while leaving a band rehearsal.
"I was so scared they were going to kill us," said the teenager, who asked not to be identified.
She and her mother were handcuffed and forced into the back of a car Wednesday night by a man and a woman claiming to be immigration officers.
“I asked where they were taking us, and they said an immigration station in Waco,” the teenager said.
But when they passed Waco, the mother and daughter realized something was terribly wrong.
“I think they were going to kill us at the border," the girl said.
Police said they arrested the male driver in Austin on his way back to North Texas. His identity was not immediately released.
Dallas police said late Thursday night that Ezequiel Moreno, 45, was arrested in North Texas on suspicion of kidnapping based on information the driver gave to Austin police.
Dallas police said Moreno allegedly masterminded the kidnapping so the girl could not testify.
Investigators said they are searching for Rosemary Inocencio, 39, in connection with the kidnapping. Her last known address was in Irving.
Lita Beck contributed to this report.