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Press Release

Third Man Pleads Guilty in the Hostage Taking that Resulted in the Death of a U.S. Citizen

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

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Mario Peia and Alexandra F. Foster (619) 546-9706/6735


SAN DIEGO – Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera Jr. of Tijuana pleaded guilty in federal court today for his role in the kidnapping of Miguel Anthony Rendon, a U.S. citizen, which resulted in Rendon’s death. 

Dorantes pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew G. Schopler to Hostage Taking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1203. Dorantes is the third defendant to plead guilty in connection with this crime, after Alan Lomeli-Luna and Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco.

In his plea agreement, Dorantes admitted that on May 29, 2020, at approximately 11:50 p.m., Dorantes and others forcibly removed the victim, Miguel Anthony Rendon, from his hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. Dorantes and others punched, kicked, and pistol-whipped Rendon. Once subdued, Dorantes and others placed Rendon in a waiting car and drove away.

Dorantes’ co-conspirators then took Rendon to another hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. There, while Rendon was held and detained, Dorantes’ co-conspirators called Rendon’s family and made ransom demands for Rendon’s release. Specifically, Dorantes’ co-conspirators demanded $2,000 to $3,000 or methamphetamine in exchange for Rendon’s release.

On or about May 30, 2020, Dorantes’ co-conspirators intentionally killed Rendon.

“This is a tragic case where a young man paid the ultimate price for getting involved with the wrong people, and his family is forever devastated,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Drug traffickers don’t hesitate to use extreme violence. We will not hesitate to seek justice for victims.”  Grossman thanked the prosecution team as well as the investigating FBI agents for their excellent work on this case.

“Dorantes’ guilty plea confirms the FBI’s commitment to fully investigating violent crimes against U.S. citizens abroad and ensuring everyone involved in the senseless killing of victim Miguel Anthony Rendon is held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI's San Diego Field Office. “This case shines a light on the disregard for human life these defendants had assuming they were outside U.S. jurisdiction and U.S. law enforcement. No defendant is safe from the FBI’s reach. We will pursue any criminal around the world to ensure justice is served – today’s guilty plea is another example.”

Dorantes is scheduled to be sentenced October 31, 2022, at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes. Valencia-Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2022 at 9 a.m. and Lomeli-Luna is scheduled to be sentenced on September 12, 2022 at 9 a.m., also before Judge Hayes.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 21CR1683-WQH

Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera, Jr.,

aka “Gordo Rivera”                                                    Age: 26            Tijuana


18 U.S.C. Sec. 1203 - Hostage Taking

Maximum Penalty: Life in prison


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Updated July 28, 2022

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: CAS22-0728-Dorantes