Chaparral Man Sentenced to 90 months in Prison for Hostage Taking
ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, John Morales, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s El Paso Field Office, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office, announced that Ricardo Arce, III was sentenced to 90 months in prison. Arce, 44, of Chaparral, New Mexico, pled guilty in federal court on Sept. 22, 2021, to conspiracy to take a hostage and two counts of hostage taking.
In his plea agreement, Arce admitted to conspiring with his co-defendants, Jonathan Matthew Gonzalez and Vicki Sowell, to take two foreign nationals’ hostage. Gonzalez transported the hostages to Arce’s residence in Chaparral, took their phones and wallets, and told them they were not allowed to leave unless their families paid money to secure their release. While held against their will, Gonzalez assaulted both of the hostages. Arce recorded videos of Gonzalez assaulting one of the hostages while Sowell turned up music to cover the sounds of the beating. Gonzalez sent the videos to the hostage’s family along with a demand for money. Gonzalez threatened to kill the hostages if they did not pay the ransom.
Family and friends of the hostages paid nearly $20,000 in an attempt to secure their release. Gonzales paid Arce and Sowell to house and watch the hostages.
Upon his release from prison, Arce will be subject to 5 years of supervised release.
Gonzalez pled guilty to conspiracy to take a hostage and two counts of hostage taking on March 18, 2022, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Sowell was convicted of conspiracy to take a hostage and two counts of hostage taking and sentenced to 32 months in prison.
The FBI El Paso Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the FBI Las Cruces Resident Agency, El Paso Police Department, Las Cruces Police Department, Otero County Sheriff's Office, Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector and Border Patrol El Paso Sector Special Operations Detachment BORTAC. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Ramirez is prosecuting the case.
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