Office of the United States Attorney, John S. Leonardo
District of Arizona
October 12, 2012
TWO GUATEMALANS FOUND GUILTY OF HOSTAGE TAKING AND OTHER IMMIGRATION OFFENSES
PHOENIX – Yesterday, a federal jury in Phoenix returned guilty verdicts against Domingo Agustin-Simon and Leonardo Rabanales-Casia, both of Guatemala. The jury found both defendants guilty of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, hostage taking, bringing in illegal aliens for profit, and harboring illegal aliens for profit. The jury also found Agustin-Simon guilty of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell from Oct. 1-11, 2012. Both defendants are being held pending sentencing before Judge Campbell on Jan. 14, 2013.
The evidence at trial showed that the defendants were part of an alien smuggling operation responsible for crossing illegal aliens into the United States and harboring them at a drop house in Mesa, Ariz. On Aug. 10, 2011, a task force comprised of law enforcement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Phoenix Police Department raided the drop house and found more than 40 illegal aliens inside. Testimony at trial revealed that the smugglers threatened the aliens with physical harm and death and told the aliens’ family members that the aliens would be harmed or killed if payments were not made. One hostage was beaten by the smugglers while in the drop house. The women in the house were subject to sexual molestation and the evidence presented showed that Agustin-Simon raped one of the women. The smugglers used a shotgun to keep order in the drop house.
The maximum penalty that could be imposed as a result of this conviction is life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Phoenix Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Christine D. Keller and Sean K. Lokey, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-11-01622-PHX-DGC
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-210(Agustin-Simon_etal)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az