Mexican Citizen Living in San Antonio Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for His Role in Kidnapping Scheme
In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 36-year-old Agustin Sergio Deleon Garza to life in federal prison for his role in the kidnapping of a Mexican businessman in December 2013 announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Division and Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit of the DEA’s Houston Division.
In addition to the prison term, Senior United States District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Deleon Garza to pay $73,800 restitution to his victim.
On January 15, 2015, a jury found Deleon Garza guilty of one count of conspiracy to kidnap; one count of aiding and abetting kidnapping; two counts of receipt of ransom money; one count of interstate communication of ransom; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; and, one count of aiding and abetting money laundering.
Evidence presented during trial revealed that on December 27, 2013, Jorge Luis Martin Cavazos Cantu was kidnapped from his Monterrey, Mexico residence by several men. While Cantu was in the custody of his abductors in Mexico, Deleon Garza placed several phone calls from Bexar County to Cantu’s family seeking ransom. In each call, Deleon Garza used a cellphone app which disguised his voice and his location. Cantu was released on January 29, 2014, after the ransom was paid.
“Kidnapping is a terrifying crime for the victim and for his family. Everyone knows that kidnappings can end very badly. Fortunately, the victim in this case survived and was released. Deleon Garza’s life-imprisonment sentence is appropriate and very well deserved,” stated United States Attorney Richard Durbin.
This case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in San Antonio and in Mexico (Monterrey and Mexico City) in cooperation with the State of Nuevo León anti kidnapping unit and the attorney general’s office in Monterrey.
“The sentence handed down today sends a clear message to criminals who attempt to carry out acts of violence in other countries while enjoying the privileges and freedoms of living in this great nation. The FBI, working with our law enforcement partners, in the U.S. and the world, will ensure that you are held accountable for your violent criminal acts,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
“This sentence represents 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 Joseph M. Arabit, DEA Special Agent in Charge, Houston Division.
Assistant United States Attorney Erica Benites Giese prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.