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Press Release

Mexican National Arraigned for Kidnapping, Hostage Taking and Alien Smuggling in Fresno

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Cristian Ortiz Coronado, 31, a resident of Mexico, was arraigned today on a six-count indictment charging him with kidnapping, hostage taking, and transporting illegal aliens, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. Coronado was indicted on November 9 by a federal grand jury.

According to court documents, Ortiz Coronado was hired to deliver a family to Fresno on Aug. 25, 2023 after they illegally crossed the border from Mexico. When Ortiz Coronado picked the family up, including a mother, her four-year-old daughter, and her nine-year-old son, he locked the doors and would not let them leave the vehicle. Ortiz Coronado then demanded an additional $21,000 from relatives before he would release the family, including children, in Fresno. When relatives did not have the money and tried to block Ortiz Coronado from driving away, Ortiz Coronado rammed first a relatives’ vehicle and then the father of the children before driving away with the mother and her nine-year-old son, leaving the four-year-old behind.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Fresno Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Stokman and Robert Veneman-Hughes are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Ortiz Coronado faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $3 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated November 16, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods