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July 12, 2011

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Jury Convicts Husband of Kidnapping Wife

McALLEN, Texas – A federal jury has convicted a Mission, Texas, man of kidnapping his wife, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced this afternoon.  

Oscar Francisco Ramirez, 26, of Mission, was found guilty of kidnapping this morning after less than 15 minutes of deliberation. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who presided over Ramirez’s trial, has set sentencing for Sept. 20, 2011. By statute, Ramirez faces up to life in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000 for the conviction.

During trial in federal court in McAllen, the jury heard the testimony of several witnesses including the victim, Ramirez’s wife and one of her children. The victim testified that on June 9, 2010, she had asked Ramirez for a divorce. According to her testimony, on that day, Ramirez drove her and her children to a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Mission. As soon as the children got out of the car, Ramirez drove her away against her will. One of the children also testified, telling the jury he saw Ramirez drive off with the victim. The victim told the jury as Ramirez drove toward the Mexican border, she begged him to stop and let her out. She tried to jump out of the moving vehicle, but could not, because Ramirez was holding onto her. He drove at high-speed through the Anzalduas International Bridge into Reynosa, Mexico. While in the car, Ramirez threatened to make her pay and told her it would be a long time before her family ever found her. Once in Reynosa, the victim was able to escape from Ramirez and after several hours made her way back to the U.S. through the Hidalgo Port of Entry.

A Mission police investigator also testified. She told the jury she was driving an unmarked police unit when she saw the vehicle Ramirez was driving weaving in and out of rush hour traffic in Mission at high rate of speed. When the investigator pulled closer, she saw a woman trying to jump out of the moving vehicle and struggling with the male driver, who was pulling her by her hair. Because her unmarked vehicle did not have any lights or sirens, the investigator radioed for backup. A marked unit arrived, activated its lights and sirens, passed the investigator and together the investigator and the marked unit chased Ramirez. They chased Ramirez, who drove at a high rate of speed, onto the bridge that leads to Reynosa past the Anzalduas Port of Entry; however, they were forced  to stop and turn around before they reached the border. Ramirez continued into Mexico with the victim.

Ramirez was initially charged by state authorities, but was transferred into federal custody in February 2011 after the filing of a criminal complaint. A federal grand jury sitting in McAllen, Texas, indicted him for kidnapping on March 9, 2011. 

Ramirez has been in custody without bond since his arrest and will remain in custody pending sentencing. This case, investigated by the FBI, the FBI Safe Street Task Force and the Mission Police Department, was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leo J. Leo III and Christopher Sully.