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Press Release

Fourth Defendant Convicted in Immigrant Kidnapping and Extortion Scheme Sentenced to 135 Months in Prison

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LUCILO CABRERA, 46, of Bronx, New York, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 135 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a kidnapping and extortion scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on several occasions, Cabrera and his co-conspirators targeted individuals after they exited buses at the Port Authority in New York.  The victims included women, men and children from Central American countries who did not speak English and were seeking asylum in the U.S.  Some of the victims planned to travel from New York to Connecticut.  After the victims were told that their connecting bus was not available and that they would provide transportation, the co-conspirators coerced the victims into vehicles.  Cabrera and others would then drive the victims around, sometimes for hours, and refused to release them until they or their families agreed to pay the co-conspirators an exorbitant amount of money, on average more than a $1000.

At times, co-conspirators posed as an immigration officer to intimidate the victims further.

Cabrera, who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and a Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S., has been detained since his arrest on June 22, 2016.  On March 9, 2018, a federal jury in Bridgeport found Cabrera and two co-conspirators, Francisco Betancourt and Carlos Antonio Hernandez, guilty of kidnapping, extortion and conspiracy offenses.  On November 14, 2019, Betancourt was sentenced to 168 months of imprisonment, and on November 18, 2019, Hernandez was sentenced to 96 months of imprisonment.

On October 12, 2018, a fourth defendant, Pascual Rodriguez, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping.  On July 2, 2019, he was sentenced to 135 months of imprisonment.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Richards.

Updated December 9, 2019

Financial Fraud
Violent Crime