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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 16, 2018

Columbus Couple Sentenced for Conspiring to Kidnap Man After Cocaine Sale Failed

COLUMBUS, Ohio – William Hernandez Castillo, 26, and Citlaly Casillas, 22, both of Columbus, were each sentenced today in U.S. District Court for conspiracy to commit kidnapping following a failed drug transaction. Hernandez Castillo was sentenced to 48 months in prison and Casillas was sentenced to 42 months in prison.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Gahanna Police Chief Dennis Murphy and Westerville Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge James L. Graham.

According to the Statement of Facts in this case, Hernandez Castillo and Casillas conspired to kidnap an individual from April 4 through April 7, 2017.

In March 2017, the individual told Casillas that an associate of his wanted to buy one kilogram of cocaine. Casillas and Hernandez Castillo agreed to buy the drugs and intended to sell the cocaine for more than $30,000.

When the time came to complete the transaction on April 4, the associate took the cocaine without paying.

Hernandez Castillo then called the owner of the drugs, who was in Mexico, to discuss how to respond. The owner of the drugs told Hernandez Castillo to hold the individual responsible for his associate. The owner said if he did not receive the drugs or the money, he would send enforcers to deal with the individual and his family.

Following the phone call, Hernandez Castillo told the individual that he had to come with Hernandez Castillo and Casillas.

From April 4 through April 7, Hernandez Castillo and Casillas seized, confined and kidnapped the victim for ransom at their Columbus residence. Hernandez Castillo told the victim that people from Mexico would harm his family if the drug owner did not receive the drugs or money.

During his confinement, Casillas told the victim stories of a 2015 fatal shooting at La Michoacana market in Columbus in order to scare him and keep him from leaving the residence. She joked that Hernandez Castillo would cut off one of the victim’s fingers if he left.

After contacting his girlfriend and mother, the victim was driven by Hernandez Castillo on April 7 to a location in Columbus, where they believed ransom money was waiting. When the victim arrived at the drop location, law enforcement secured him.

Casillas was arrested during the execution of a search warrant at her residence on April 17. Hernandez Castillo was arrested the same day, and the two have remained in custody since.

“The defendants held a victim ransom for days, communicating threats of violence and invoking an infamous murder at La Michoacana market in Columbus in 2015,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “They also made clear that they were taking orders from Mexico, suggesting these threats were backed by the full resources of an international drug-trafficking organization.”

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, DEA, Gahanna Police and Westerville Police, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate, who is representing the United States in this case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated March 19, 2018