MAN FROM COLUMBUS, N.M. SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR HOSTAGE TAKING, TRANSPORTATION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS, AND OTHER OFFENSES
ALBUQUERQUE- Josias Garcia, 25, of Columbus, N.M., was sentenced in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on Tuesday to 16 years in federal prison for hostage taking, transportation of illegal aliens, smuggling, drug possession, firearms, and witness intimidation offenses.
Garcia previously pleaded guilty on February 26, 2019, to the following offenses: three counts of hostage taking; one count of conspiracy to take a hostage, three counts of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens; one count of brandishing a firearm during or in relation to a drug trafficking crime; four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm; two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana; one count of conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States; one count of transportation of goods intended to be smuggled; one count of attempt to smuggle goods from the United States; and four counts of tampering with a witness by intimidation or threat.
In Garcia’s plea agreement, Garcia admitted picking up illegal aliens at the United States-Mexico border on November 6, 2017, and transporting them to a mobile home in Columbus, N.M., where he, and another person, held them as hostages for four days. Garcia also admitted that he intimidated these hostages with threats of violence, including brandishing a firearm he was forbidden to possess because of a previous felony conviction, and demanding the families of the hostages sent money for their release. Garcia also admitted possessing marijuana at the mobile home with intent to distribute. He also admitted traveling to El Paso, Tex., to buy firearms he intended to smuggle to Mexico. However, he did not because he encountered officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as he attempted to leave the country. Garcia also admitted trying to intimidate witnesses against him after his arrest by using threats and violence.
Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luis A. Martinez, Dustin C. Segovia, and Richard C. Williams are prosecuting the case.