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Press Release

Hostage-takers Sentenced To Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

PHOENIX – On Dec. 9, 2013, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton sentenced Abel Doncel de la Torre-Gonzalez, 34, of Mexico D.F., Ed. De Mexico, MX, to seven years in prison for his role in a hostage taking.  De la Torre was the last of three hostage takers sentenced to prison in this matter.  Espiridion Pablo-Madrigal, 36, of San Juan Carapan, Michoacàn and Luis Bretado-Aragon, 19, of Concordia, Sinaloa, Mexico, were sentenced in November to ten and one-half years and six years imprisonment, respectively.  All three had been indicted June 12, 2013, on charges of hostage taking, conspiracy to commit hostage taking, and use, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 

U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to prosecute human smugglers, especially those who employ violence and stated, “Federal law provides for significantly higher sentences for alien smugglers who engage in violence and use firearms as tools of their trade. We will use the statutory tools available to seek lengthy prison sentences for people who victimize their human cargo.”

The charges in the case stemmed from a human smuggling event in which the defendants raised the smuggling fees, threatened to kill the victims if the higher fees were not paid, and engaged in violent behavior toward the victims, who were in the process of being smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.  The prosecution was handled byJoseph E. Koehler, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER :           CR-13-835-PHX-SRB
RELEASE NUMBER:   2013-094_Pablo-Madrigal_etal.

For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit

Updated January 7, 2015