FBI San Antonio
Special Agent Michelle Lee
(210) 650-6333
February 5, 2018

Fugitive Sentenced to Life in Prison for Hostage-Taking Conspiracy Captured in Mexico and Returned to United States

MCALLEN, TX—A federal fugitive sentenced to life in prison for his role in a hostage-taking conspiracy has been returned to the United States after his capture in Mexico by Mexican authorities. Luis Gerardo Betancourt, previously residing in Pharr, Texas, was apprehended by Mexican authorities in October 2017 and returned to the United States at the Columbia Port of Entry, Laredo, Texas late in the evening on Friday, February 2.

Following a five-day trial, on March 30, 2017 a federal jury sitting in McAllen convicted Betancourt, in absentia, of conspiracy to commit hostage taking and conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens.

On July 12, 2017 , U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who presided over the trial, sentenced Betancourt to life in federal prison for conspiracy to commit hostage taking and 10 years for conspiracy to transport aliens.

“The apprehension and return of the defendant highlights the outstanding law enforcement collaboration among agencies in the United States and Mexico, and demonstrates the bilateral tenacity involved with bringing those who threaten our communities to justice," stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.

The fugitive investigation was conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, with assistance from the United States Marshals Service. Mexican law enforcmeent authorities were instrumental in the apprehension and return of the defendant to the United States.