EL PASO, TX -- Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit of DEA’s El Paso Division, and United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in El Paso this afternoon, Senior US District Judge David Briones sentenced 23-year-old Cesar Obregon-Reyes, a Mexican citizen residing in Tornillo, Texas, to life in federal prison and fined him $5,000 for his role in the kidnapping of Sergio Saucedo in El Paso in September 2009 and his subsequent murder in Mexico by a drug cartel. Yesterday, Judge Briones sentenced co-defendant Rafael Vega, age 27, of Tornillo, to life in federal prison for his role in the scheme. Vega also received an 18-month prison term for committing his crimes while on supervised release. Judge Briones also ordered Vega to pay a $5,000 fine. On July 7, 2011, Judge Briones sentenced co-defendant Omar Obregon-Ortiz, a 20-year-old Mexican citizen residing in Tornillo, to 100 months in federal prison for his role in the scheme followed by a five-year term of supervised release.
“The life sentences imposed against these two kidnappers should serve as a reminder to those considering acts of violence within the United States that the rule of law is vigorously enforced in this country and acts of violence on U.S. soil will be duly punished,” stated United States Attorney John E. Murphy.
"The sentences imposed in this case appropriately reflect the seriousness of the crime and its impact upon our community. Violent crimes related to the drug trade are of particular concern to our citizenry. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to aggressively investigating these types of crimes and seeking justice for the victims' families, as well as providing peace of mind to our community,” stated David Cuthbertson, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, El Paso Division.
“These life sentences send the message that violent drug traffickers will be held accountable for their crimes. DEA and their Federal, state and local law enforcement partners will continue to work together to keep our community safe,” said Joseph M. Arabit.
On September 3, 2009, the defendants conspired to kidnap Sergio Saucedo from his home in Horizon City, Texas. Saucedo then was taken to Caseta, Mexico, where he was tortured, murdered and mutilated in retaliation for the loss of a 670-pound marijuana load seized at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint on August 5, 2009. On April 1, 2011, a federal jury convicted Obregon-Reyes and Vega on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap, kill or maim in a foreign country, use of an interstate communication facility in commission of murder for hire; and, interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering. Obregon-Ortiz pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge prior to jury selection.
This case was investigated by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Border Patrol and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department.The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.JustThinkTwice.comand www.dea.gov.