Men from California and Texas to Serve Lengthy Federal Prison Sentences for Kidnapping Man in El Paso
ALBUQUERQUE—Brandon Lawrence Jones, 36, of San Diego, California, and Jesus Manuel Gallegos, 42, of El Paso, Texas, were sentenced today for their federal kidnapping convictions. Jones was sentenced to 35 years in prison, while Gallegos was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Each man will be on supervised release for five years after completing his prison sentence. Jones and Gallegos jointly were ordered to pay $1,990 in restitution to the victim.
According to court records, on the night of November 5, 2011, Jones and Gallegos carjacked and kidnapped a man as he was leaving a basketball game in El Paso, Texas. Using an air pistol that resembled semi-automatic pistol, Jones forced the victim to get into the passenger seat of his own vehicle. Thereafter, Gallegos joined Jones and the victim in the vehicle. After directing the victim to identify banks at which the victim maintained accounts, Jones took bank cards out of the victim’s wallet; forced the victim to reveal the PINs for his bank accounts; and withdrew cash from the victim’s bank accounts. During this time, Jones and Gallegos repeatedly struck the victim in the face and body with their fists.
Jones and Gallegos drove the vehicle from El Paso to Clines Corner, New Mexico. During one stop, they duct-taped the victim’s hands and feet but later released him from the restraints when they realized that it might be hard to explain a restrained passenger as they crossed through the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint at Hatch, New Mexico. During a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jones and Gallegos continued to use the victim’s bank card to withdraw money from the victim’s bank accounts. When they arrived at Clines Corner in the early morning of November 6, 2011, Jones and Gallegos parked the vehicle at a truck stop and fell asleep. After ensuring that his kidnappers were asleep, the victim escaped from the vehicle and sought help from restaurant employees at the Clines Corner truck stop who called 911 and helped the victim contact family members in El Paso. Shortly thereafter, officers of the New Mexico State Police and Torrance County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jones and Gallegos, who were still asleep in the victim’s vehicle.
When they were arrested on state charges, Jones was in possession of a wallet containing the victim’s driver’s license, and Gallegos was in possession of one of the victim’s bank cards. In the vehicle, the officers found an air pistol, which looked like a semi-automatic pistol with a laser site, ATM receipts, and wads of used duct tape.
Jones and Gallegos were arrested on federal charges on November 7, 2011, and have been in federal custody since that time. Jones entered his guilty plea to a kidnapping charge on December 28, 2012, and Gallegos entered his guilty plea to a similar charge on January 3, 2013. Both guilty pleas were entered without the benefit of plea agreements.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, the New Mexico State Police, and the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles L. Barth and William J. Pflugrath.