News and Press Releases

Former Fugitive Faces Numerous Charges Including Hostage Taking Related to an Alleged Murder

Aug. 26, 2014

VICTORIA, Texas – Noe Aranda-Soto, 34, an undocumented alien illegally residing in Houston, will make his initial appearance in Corpus Christi federal court tomorrow on charges contained in a 22-count superceding indictment, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Aranda-Soto, aka Diablo or Chulo or Wache, had been a fugitive until his arrest by law enforcement in 2012.

The indictment, returned in Victoria last week, alleges brandishing firearms and using a firearm in relation to hostage taking resulting in death which is murder, hostage taking, harboring undocumented aliens, transporting undocumented aliens, related conspiracy charges as well as illegal re-entry into the U.S. after being previously deported.  

He will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning in Corpus Christi.

Aranda-Soto was originally charged in 2010 with eight counts related to an alien transporting conspiracy following an Aug. 1, 2010, rollover accident which resulted in death. According to court records in that case, he was the alleged leader of an alien-smuggling/hostage-taking organization and in charge of a crew that transported aliens from areas near the Falfurrias and Sarita checkpoints to local stash houses in Houston and to points north. On Aug. 1, 2010, his brother was driving a vehicle loaded with illegal aliens when it rolled over near Victoria. One died as a result of the accident, while another had been left behind in the brush and died of exposure and dehydration. A third victim was in a coma for nearly a year and now suffers from permanent injuries. 

Aranda-Soto was later identified as the alleged leader in the conspiracy. He was stopped by law enforcement authorities a few days later, but he fled and escaped.

Still a fugitive on the 2010 charges, Aranda-Soto returned to Houston in 2012, allegedly calling himself “El Diablo” and began holding aliens hostage in Houston area stash houses, according to court records. Law enforcement discovered one of his alleged stash houses in October 2010, at which time authorities rescued a group of aliens allegedly being held hostage and arrested several of Aranda-Soto’s alleged employees.

Aranda-Soto then planned to leave Houston with two female employees. However, according to previous court proceedings, an argument ensued and Aranda-Soto shot both the driver and the other female passenger. Aranda-Soto allegedly shot the passenger multiple times and pushed her out of the moving vehicle. She was subsequently run over by a tractor-trailer, resulting in traumatic decapitation and dismemberment. The driver was also struck multiple times but managed to escape the vehicle and survived.  

Law enforcement arrested Aranda-Soto a few weeks later at yet another stash house, which was full of illegal aliens allegedly being held hostage.

With the exception of Aranda-Soto, all of those charged in relation to the 2010 and 2012 criminal activity have all been convicted.

If convicted himself, Aranda-Soto faces varying prison terms up to a possible death sentence.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol agents with the South Texas Campaign and South Texas Border Intelligence Center, Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Patti H. Booth and Casey N. MacDonald are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.


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