Three Men Sentenced for Hostage Taking of Local Businessman
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 23, 2010|
McALLEN, TX—Gilberto Ivan Gonzalez-Pena, 26, Jose Alfredo Gonzalez, 37, and Uvaldo Quintero, 27, have been sentenced to federal prison for taking a local businessman hostage, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. All three men pleaded guilty to hostage taking in 2009: Gonzalez-Pena, of Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on May 29; Gonzalez, of San Antonio, Texas, on May 8; and Quintero, of Weslaco, Texas, on March 31.
At a hearing this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Gonzalez-Pena, Gonzalez and Quintero to 13, 14, and six years, respectively. The court also ordered the defendants be placed on a period of supervised release for three years. In addition to the lengthy prison terms, Gonzalez-Pena and Gonzalez have also been ordered to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $101,000.
On Jan. 28, 2008, a McAllen businessman was abducted and detained at gunpoint by Gonzalez-Pena and others in McAllen and subsequently taken to a trailer home in Mission, Texas. Shortly thereafter, Gonzalez called the victim’s wife and demanded $125,000 in exchange for the release of the victim or else they were going to kill him. The victim’s family paid the ransom on Jan. 30, 2008. Once the ransom was paid, the businessman was released with minor injuries.
After hearing the arguments from both the government and defense counsel in federal court today, Judge Crane handed down the prison terms for each man for seizing, detaining, and threatening to kill, injure, and continuing to detain the victim in order to compel his family to pay a sum of money as an explicit condition for his release. The court took into account the extent of each defendant’s involvement in the hostage taking, noting that Gonzalez-Pena had been one of the individuals who actually abducted the victim at gunpoint and Gonzalez was the one making the phone calls demanding the ransom. Quintero was responsible for releasing the victim once the ransom was paid.
This investigation leading to the charges was conducted by FBI with the assistance of McAllen Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Leo J. Leo III and Casey MacDonald.